Gene vs. Allele

Gene vs. Allele

Genes and alleles play a vital role in the development of living organisms, but there are some differences between the two parts which are related to DNA of an organism.

A gene contains the information or the directions about a specific characteristic or trait that can be dominant or it may be recessive. All genes are found on a designated place on every chromosome of an organism. However, not every copy of a gene is identical. Herein lies one of the first differences, it is an allele when it is an alternative form of the gene. This allele will also lead to an alternative form of a trait.

Using the different kinds of soda available for purchase at a restaurant may help explain the difference between a gene and an allele. If someone asked two servers for a soda at a restaurant, each server could bring one of many different flavors to the customer. The customer could end up with having different combinations of cola, root beer, ginger ale, or many others flavors.

The servers are the parents, the sodas are like the genes, which then leads us to the flavors. The sodas are not all the same because not every soda is identical; the flavors make the difference. In this comparison, it is the alleles that will make the difference, leading to an alternative form of a trait (flavor).

It can be somewhat confusing, but simply stated, the gene is part of the DNA, and the allele is a different version of the gene. The parts of the DNA that determine the genetic traits a person will have are the genes. On the other hand, the various sequences on the same DNA determine one characteristic in a person. The many combinations, like the many sodas the customer can receive, leads to the differences found in the traits appearing within families and in society.

There are a few other technical differences related to genes and alleles. When a person inherits a pair of genes, one from each parent, the genes may be the same for an offspring. The alleles, though, causes the differences between individuals. Genes do not occur in pairs, but alleles do occur in pairs. Alleles are separated into two different categories; recessive and dominant. Genes do not have that type of separation.

Another difference between the two is related to phenotypes. Alleles produce opposite phenotypes, which are contrasting by nature. When a couple partners of a gene are identical in nature, they are called homozygous. On the other hand, if the two are made up of different alleles, they are called heterozygous, in which the dominant allele will appear.

As stated earlier, alleles are mainly different types of the same gene. If a person's eye color was decided by one gene, the color green may be carried by one allele and the color blue by a second allele. The differences in the appearance of a trait are determined by the alleles, which determine the different versions of the genes that are seen, which appear as traits, like eye color.

In summary, the genes are the same for all humans; however, the alleles determine the appearance of the traits or characteristics of each human.

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