MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

113 views

What factors contribute to phenotypic variation between organisms?

Let us first understand what is meant by the term "phenotypic variation". Simply, the phenotype of an organism is its observable characteristics - like how it looks, how it behaves, and so on. Differences between organisms in these observable traits is known as phenotypic variation. 

So for example, a human is very phenotypically different from a snail (and we can say that there is a lot of phenotypic variation between the two). But a human is less phenotypically different from another human (and we can say that there is less phenotypic variation between the two). Co-twins of the same sex would have very little phenotypic variation between them (though there is still some).

Now we understand what we mean by phenotypic variation, we can move on to answering the question. 

Two things contribute to variation in phenotype – variation in genotype, and variation in environment. First let’s deal with variation in genotype.

A genotype is the genetic information of an organism. This genetic information, in the form of DNA, tells cells which protein to encode. Ultimately, the proteins that are encoded decide aspects of what an organism looks like, and how it functions and behaves – in this way, variation in the genotype contributes to variation in the phenotype. The genotype is inherited from an organism’s mother and father (half from the mother, half from the father), so this can be thought of as the inherited aspect of phenotypic variation.

The environment can affect an organism’s phenotype in many different ways. For example, exposure to a high-fat diet would lead to an increase in weight and consequent increase in size, while exposure to a low-fat diet would lead to a decrease in weight and consequent decrease in size. Clearly then, variation in environment contributes to variation in an organism’s phenotype.

Overall, it is the combination of genotypic variation and environmental variation that is responsible for phenotypic variation. Importantly, different phenotypic traits rely on genotype and environment to different degrees. For example, variation in eye colour is entirely down to genotypic variation, but variation in weight is down to both genotypic and environmental variation.

Faheem M. A Level Maths tutor, GCSE Maths tutor, 13 plus  Maths tutor...

3 months ago

Answered by Faheem, a GCSE Biology tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

182 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£30 /hr

Olivia R.

Degree: Biological Sciences (Bachelors) - Oxford, St Anne's College University

Subjects offered: Biology, Geography+ 3 more

Biology
Geography
Extended Project Qualification
-Personal Statements-
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“A nature enthusiast, I share my love of both Biology and Geography with others, whether they are struggling to understand core principles or pushing themselves towards top grades”

£18 /hr

Ruby W.

Degree: Engineering Mathematics (Bachelors) - Bristol University

Subjects offered: Biology, Physics+ 3 more

Biology
Physics
Maths
Further Mathematics
Chemistry

“About Me: Hi, my name is Ruby and I am an engineering student at the University of Bristol. I love everything maths and science (especially maths), and teaching has been a passion of mine for many years. As a tutor, I am patient, tho...”

£18 /hr

Constantinos C.

Degree: MRes Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (Masters) - Imperial College London University

Subjects offered: Biology, Physics+ 3 more

Biology
Physics
Maths
History
-Personal Statements-

“I am a Biology graduate, and thus have the necessary critical thinking and learning skills that I can transfer to you. I am now a student in a research-based Masters at Imperial College. During university, I have worked as a mentor an...”

About the author

Faheem M.

Currently unavailable:

Degree: Medicine (Other) - Cambridge University

Subjects offered: Biology, Physics+ 6 more

Biology
Physics
Maths
Chemistry
.UKCAT.
.BMAT (BioMedical Admissions)
-Oxbridge Preparation-
-Medical School Preparation-

“I am a medical student at Cambridge University. I have always been really passionate about teaching, particularly when it comes to subjects I enjoy like maths and science! I am enthusiastic and patient, and I believe that I can make l...”

You may also like...

Other GCSE Biology questions

What is respiration?

How does the body protect itself from pathogens?

What are the different stages of mitosis?

Why do the muscles of the Iris contract and relax?

View GCSE Biology tutors

Cookies:

We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok