Difference Between Dominant and Recessive

Genes are responsible for determining most of our physical characteristics (if you are not comfortable with your physique, you already know who to blame), but they also play a very important role in our health and even personality. Characteristics such as the color of the eyes, hair, skin we owe them to our genes. Difference Between Dominant and Recessive

Each gene has two alleles, one that comes from the mother and one from the father. Some alleles are dominant and some are recessive, but what does this mean?

If you want to know a little more about it, keep reading, because here we explain what the difference is between dominant and recessive alleles.

DOMINANT ALLELES Difference Between Dominant and Recessive

The dominant alleles are what determine the visible characteristics. If there is a dominant and a recessive allele, it will be the dominant one that ‘dominates’. When the determined characteristics are visible they are known as the phenotype, while the genetic code behind everything is known as the genotype.

Regarding the color of the eyes, the allele that determines the brown color is dominant (M); while the one that determines the blue color is a recessive allele (a). If a couple (both with brown eyes) have children, they will have brown eyes, and if one of the members of the couple has blue eyes and the other has brown eyes, it is very likely that the children have brown eyes; unless they inherit recessive alleles from other family members.

* When both parents have dominant alleles (different), the result, that is, the descendants show new characteristics as a result of a mixture between the characteristics of the parents. This is due to the fact that when both members have dominant genes there is no way that the genes of one will overlap those of the other, therefore, the result has to be something different.


On the other hand, recessive alleles are those that are much less likely to express or determine characteristics. Only when they meet other recessive genes can they manifest. That is, for the characteristics that are related to the recessive alleles to be visible, it is necessary that both parents possess the required recessive alleles.

Finally, unlike what happens with dominant genes, recessive genes are represented with a lowercase letter.

Key differences between recessive and dominant

  • The dominant alleles are those that determine the characteristics to be inherited, while the recessive ones have very little possibility of manifesting themselves.
  • Recessive alleles are represented with a lowercase letter and dominant alleles with a capital letter.


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