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noun, plural: phenotypes

(1) The physical appearance or biochemical characteristic of an organism as a result of the interaction of its genotype and the environment.

(2) The expression of a particular trait, for example, skin color, height, behavior, etc., according to the individual’s genetic makeup and environment.


Phenotypes result from the expression of the genes of an organisms as well as the influence of environmental factors and random variation. The interaction between these factors have often been represented by the following relationship:

genotype + environment + random variation → phenotype.

Word origin: NL phaeno- < Gk phaino- shining, comb. form of phaínein to shine, appear + -type.

Related forms: phenotypic (adjective), phenotypically (adverb).
Related phrases: MASS phenotype, thrifty phenotype.

Compare: genotype.

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