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Do you look more like your dad or your mom? Why do grandchildren sometimes look just like their grandparents? All of these depend on inherited traits, which passed down from generation to generation. So what does inherited trait mean? Keep reading this article of BestLifeTips to find the answer.
What does inherited trait mean?
Many of us must have heard the word inherited trait so many times, but some of us do not really understand what does inherited trait mean. Here is a simple guide to its definition.
An inherited trait is a feature or characteristic of an organism that has been passed on to it in its genes. This transmission of parental traits to their offspring follows certain rules or principles. The study of how inherited traits are passed on is called Mendelian genetics. Most traits are not strictly determined by genes, but rather are influenced by both genes and environment.
Inherited trait is also known as hereditary trait or family trait. All living things get half their genes from one parent, and half their genes from the other parent. However, only one of those genes shows up as an inherited trait in an organism.
The study of genetics or heredity began in the early 1800s when scientists first began trying to explain the existence of different species and variations within the same species.
Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), an Australian botanist, is considered to be the father of genetics. After many years of breeding peas and studying their characteristics, he discovered the basic rules of heredity that apply to all plants and animals. His work laid the foundation of the modern genetics.
See more: What is inheritance
Inherited traits examples
Have you got what does inherited trait mean yet? We would like to give you some examples of inherited traits in humans so that you can easily imagine that.
Animals pass down traits that include camouflaged fur, thick protective scales and attractive feathers for finding a mate. Human genes work the same way. Here are some common inherited traits that children receive from their parents.
- Hair color
If your mom has black hair color, and your dad has blonde hair color, then you probably have genes for both colors. However, only one trait shows up in your hair color. You may even have a different hair color from your parents since a trait from your grandparents becomes an inherited trait.
- Eye color
Brown eyes are a dominant gene. So if one of your parents has brown eyes, the other one has blue eyes, then you are more likely to have brown eyes. In case of the fact that one of their parents has blue eyes, that recessive trait may be passed to you and you’ll have blue eyes instead.
- Skin color
Since there are at least three genes determining skin colors, so if a person with light skin has children with a person with dark skin, their children often have a skin color that is the combination of their parents’ skin color.
Children normally end up between their parents’ average heights, although environmental factors such as nutrition can play a part as well. If you are much taller or shorter than your parents, look back in your family tree to see if there is any similar trait in your ancestors.
- Bone structure
You inherited your parents’ bone and facial structure. Even the bones in the rest of your body are passed down from them.
Left-handedness tends to be an inherited trait too. If you have a left-handed parent or grandparent, you are more likely to be left-handed than someone with only right-handed parents and grandparents.
- Blood type
There are different blood types, such as A, B, AB and O. You are passed on the blood type from your parents too. If your dad has B blood type and your mom has A blood type, then you and your siblings may have A, B or AB blood types.
- Other inherited traits
There are many other inherited traits that you can get from your parents or grandparents. Children (mostly boys) with red/green colorblindness receive the gene from their mother. A woman’s ability to release two eggs at once is an inherited trait too. And there are more and more inherited traits you may share with your parents.
Inherited traits vs Acquired traits
What is acquired trait?
An acquired trait is a phenotypic or physical feature that we are not born with. We learn it during our life. This trait can be developed during our life time. It is influenced by the environmental factors and not inherited to the next generation.
Differences between inherited traits and acquired traits
- Traits controlled by genes. They are characteristic features that are inherited from the previous generation.
- Occur due to a change in genes or DNA.
- Pass from one generation to another.
- Examples: red curly hair, brown eyes
- Traits or characteristics that develop in response to the environment and cannot be inherited.
- No change in genes or DNA is involved.
- Cannot pass on from one generation to another.
- Examples: swimming, cycling
How do we inherit characteristics?
Parents pass on traits or characteristics, such as blood type or eye color, to their children through their genes. Some health conditions and diseases can also be passed on genetically.
Sometimes, one trait has many different forms. For instance, blood type can be A, B, AB or O. Changes in the gene for that trait lead to these different forms.
Each variation of a gene is called an allele. These two copies of the gene contained in your chromosomes influence the way your cells work.
Two alleles in a gene pair are inherited, one from each parent. They interact with each other in different ways. These are called inheritance patterns. For example:
- Autosomal dominant: where the gene for a trait or condition is dominant, and is a non-sex chromosome.
- Autosomal recessive: where the gene for a trait or condition is recessive, and is a non-sex chromosome.
- X-linked dominant: where the gene for a trait or condition is dominant, and is on the X-chromosome.
- X-linked recessive: where the gene for a trait or condition is recessive, and is on the X-chromosome.
- Y-linked: where the gene for a trait or condition is on the Y-chromosome.
- Co-dominant: where each allele in a gene pair carries equal weight and produces a combined physical characteristic.
- Mitochondrial: where the gene for a trait or condition is in your mitochondrial DNA, which sits in the mitochondria of your cells.
Understanding more about your genetic roots can help you learn more about yourself. This is all about what does inherited trait mean and how we inherit characteristics. Come back with BestLifeTips to get more helpful and interesting information.