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Dominant vs. Recessive: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Dominant is in genetics, a trait that is expressed in an organism when at least one dominant allele is present. Recessive is a genetic trait that is expressed only when two recessive alleles for the same characteristic are inherited.
Dominant vs. Recessive

Key Differences

Dominant traits in genetics are those that are expressed or visible when a dominant allele is present, even if only one of the two alleles for a trait is dominant. Recessive traits, on the other hand, are only expressed when an individual has two copies of the recessive allele.
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In the case of dominant traits, the presence of a dominant allele overshadows the presence of a recessive allele. Conversely, recessive traits are masked by the presence of a dominant allele and only appear when the dominant allele is absent.
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Dominant traits tend to appear more frequently in a population since only one dominant allele is required for the trait to be expressed. Recessive traits may be less common since they require both alleles to be recessive for expression.
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Examples of dominant traits include dark hair and brown eyes, while recessive traits include red hair and blue eyes. This illustrates how dominant alleles tend to mask the effect of recessive alleles in a heterozygous pair.
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The concept of dominant and recessive traits is crucial in understanding genetic inheritance and predicting the likelihood of certain traits being passed from parents to offspring.
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Comparison Chart

Allele Requirement

Expressed with at least one dominant allele
Expressed only with two recessive alleles
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Expression in Heterozygous State

Visible even when paired with a recessive allele
Hidden when paired with a dominant allele
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Frequency in Population

Tend to be more common
Tend to be less common
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Example Traits

Dark hair, brown eyes
Red hair, blue eyes
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Genetic Representation

Represented by a capital letter in genetics
Represented by a lowercase letter in genetics
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Dominant and Recessive Definitions

Dominant

Dominant - Prevalent or most influential in a group or situation.
The dominant player in the game scored the most points.
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Recessive

Recessive - Not standing out; subdued or in the background.
The recessive colors in the artwork create a calm atmosphere.
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Dominant

Dominant - In music, relating to the fifth note of a diatonic scale.
The dominant chord in C major is G major.
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Recessive

Recessive - Less dominant or influential in a situation or group.
The recessive opinion in the meeting was hardly noticed.
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Dominant

Dominant - In genetics, an allele that is expressed when present.
Brown eye color is a dominant trait in humans.
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Recessive

Recessive - Tending to recede or go back; diminishing or retreating.
The recessive tide left the beach exposed.
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Dominant

Dominant - Most prominent or conspicuous in a composition or design.
The dominant color in the painting is red.
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Recessive

Recessive - In genetics, an allele that is masked by a dominant allele.
Blue eyes are a recessive trait in humans.
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Dominant

Dominant - Having authority or influence over others.
The team's dominant leader made crucial decisions.
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Recessive

Tending to go backward or recede.
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Dominant

Exercising the most power, control, or influence
The dominant nations during the Cold War.
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Recessive

(Genetics) Of, relating to, or designating an allele that does not produce a characteristic effect when present with a dominant allele.
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Dominant

Most abundant or conspicuous; predominant
"[The fireplaces'] shallow brick arches are a relief from the dominant squares and verticals of the windows and doors" (Stephen A. Kliment).
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Recessive

Of or relating to a trait that is expressed only when the determining allele is present in the homozygous condition.
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Dominant

Higher; overlooking
Dominant hills.
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Recessive

A recessive allele or trait.
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Dominant

Tending to be stronger than its counterpart or used for the most important tasks or in the most pressing situations
Which is your dominant eye? Throw the ball with your dominant arm.
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Recessive

An organism having a recessive trait.
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Dominant

(Genetics) Of, relating to, or being an allele that produces the same phenotypic effect in heterozygotes as in homozygotes.
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Recessive

Going back; receding.
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Dominant

(Ecology) Of, relating to, or being a species that is most characteristic of an ecological community and usually determines the presence, abundance, and type of other species.
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Recessive

(genetics) Able to be masked by a dominant allele or trait.
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Dominant

(Music) Relating to or based on the fifth tone of a diatonic scale.
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Recessive

(by extension) Not dominant; whose effect is masked by stronger effects.
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Dominant

(Genetics) A dominant allele or a trait produced by a dominant allele.
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Recessive

(genetics) A gene that is recessive.
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Dominant

(Ecology) A dominant species.
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Recessive

Going back; receding.
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Dominant

(Music) The fifth tone of a diatonic scale.
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Recessive

Not appearing in the phenotype unless both alleles of the organism have the same trait; - of genetic characteristics, or of the genes coding for such characteristics, in diploid organisms. Opposite of dominant; hemophilia is a recessive trait.
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Dominant

(music) The fifth major tone of a musical scale (five major steps above the note in question); thus G is the dominant of C, A of D, and so on.
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Recessive

A genetic trait determined by a recessive{2} allele; a trait not appearing in the phenotype unless both chromosomes of the organism have the same allele; also, an allele which is recessive{2}.
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Dominant

(music) The triad built on the dominant tone.
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Recessive

Of or pertaining to a recession
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Dominant

(genetics) A gene that is dominant.
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Recessive

Of genes; producing its characteristic phenotype only when its allele is identical
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Dominant

A species or organism that is dominant.
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Recessive

Recessive - Inheritable only when two copies are present.
Albinism is a recessive genetic condition.
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Dominant

(BDSM) The dominating partner in sadomasochistic sexual activity.
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Dominant

Ruling; governing; prevailing
The dominant party controlled the government.
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Dominant

Predominant, common, prevalent, of greatest importance.
The dominant plants of the Carboniferous were lycopods and early conifers.
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Dominant

Preferred and used with greater dexterity than the other, as the right hand of a right-handed person or the left hand of a left-handed one.
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Dominant

(medicine) Designating the follicle which will survive atresia and permit ovulation.
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Dominant

(music) Being the dominant
Dominant seventh
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Dominant

Ruling; governing; prevailing; controlling; predominant; as, the dominant party, church, spirit, power.
The member of a dominant race is, in his dealings with the subject race, seldom indeed fraudulent, . . . but imperious, insolent, and cruel.
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Dominant

The fifth tone of the scale; thus G is the dominant of C, A of D, and so on.
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Dominant

(music) the fifth note of the diatonic scale
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Dominant

Exercising influence or control;
Television plays a dominant role in molding public opinion
The dominant partner in the marriage
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Dominant

Of genes; producing the same phenotype whether its allele is identical or dissimilar
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can a recessive trait appear with one dominant allele?

No, a recessive trait is only expressed when two recessive alleles are present.
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How is a recessive allele represented?

A recessive allele is typically represented by a lowercase letter in genetics.
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What's an example of a recessive trait?

Blue eye color is a common example of a recessive trait.
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How is a dominant allele represented?

A dominant allele is typically represented by a capital letter in genetics.
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Can someone carry a recessive trait without expressing it?

Yes, an individual can be a carrier of a recessive trait without showing it.
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What is a dominant trait?

A dominant trait is a genetic characteristic that is expressed when at least one dominant allele is present.
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What's an example of a dominant trait?

Brown eye color is a common example of a dominant trait.
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Are dominant traits always more common?

Dominant traits tend to be more common, but not always, depending on the population.
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Can two parents with a recessive trait have a child with a dominant trait?

No, if both parents have only recessive alleles, they can't have a child with a dominant trait.
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Is hair color a dominant or recessive trait?

Hair color can be influenced by both dominant and recessive genes.
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Is eye color solely determined by dominant and recessive genes?

Eye color is primarily influenced by dominant and recessive genes but can be complex.
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Are dominant alleles always healthier than recessive?

No, dominance in genetics doesn’t imply that one allele is healthier than another.
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Is blood type an example of dominant and recessive inheritance?

Yes, blood types are influenced by dominant and recessive genetic patterns.
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Can a dominant trait skip generations?

It's less likely for dominant traits to skip generations, unlike recessive traits.
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Can two people with dominant traits have a child with a recessive trait?

Yes, if both parents are carriers of the recessive allele.
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Are personality traits determined by dominant and recessive genes?

Personality traits are influenced by a combination of genetics and environment, not just dominant or recessive genes.
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Can a child have a recessive trait if one parent has a dominant trait?

Yes, if the other parent contributes a recessive allele and the child inherits two recessive alleles.
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Do dominant traits guarantee transmission to offspring?

Dominant traits have a higher chance but are not guaranteed to be passed on.
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Are all genetic diseases caused by recessive genes?

No, genetic diseases can be caused by both dominant and recessive genes.
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Can environmental factors influence dominant and recessive traits?

Environmental factors don't change the genetic basis of these traits but can influence their expression.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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