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Genotype and Phenotype

Genotype is the inherited gene, the actual genetic make-up.


Phenotype is the observed properties and largely a factor of evolution too.  This is the gene observed.  An example is that identical twins may display differently and have subtle differences (perhaps only identifiable to a few) as a consequence of the environment – essentially the gene displayed.  This is despite the fact that they are of an identical genotype. 


Plasticity in phenotype is where life adapts to accommodate environmental factors.  Fascinatingly, some insects will develop larger heads or pigmentation to increase their survival rates once born.


Influencing a non-genetic child is potentially possible -  the concept of epigenetics.   Embryos are able to ‘inherit’ characteristics from the carrier resulting in the carrier or biological mother influencing the child.   This theory was tested where pony embryos were implanted into horses.  The ponies were born, slightly larger than if they had been transferred as embryos into pony mothers.   This implies that the genes are altered by the environment of the womb and that the of the biological mother.


Some persons have even gone so far as to say that the egg donor or genotype is not as important as the phenotype. 


This is a very positive contribution for recipients hearing news of requiring an egg donor.  Essentially it implies that the recipient’s environment – starting at the very womb stage – contribute significantly to the phenotype or the way the child takes on the inherited gene.


For recipients receiving donor eggs – you matter far more than you thought!

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