The genotype/phenotype distinction

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)
Abstract
The distinction between phenotype and genotype is fundamental to the understanding of heredity and development of organisms. The genotype of an organism is the class to which that organism belongs as determined by the description of the actual physical material made up of DNA that was passed to the organism by its parents at the organism's conception. For sexually reproducing organisms that physical material consists of the DNA contributed to the fertilized egg by the sperm and egg of its two parents. For asexually reproducing organisms, for example bacteria, the inherited material is a direct copy of the DNA of its parent. The phenotype of an organism is the class to which that organism belongs as determined by the description of the physical and behavioral characteristics of the organism, for example its size and shape, its metabolic activities and its pattern of movement
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