(general) Going back; receding.
In genetics, a recessive gene or allele is one in which the effect is not tangible, or is masked by the effects of the dominant gene. The recessive trait may be expressed when the recessive genes are in homozygous condition or when the dominant gene is not present. That happens when an organism inherits a pair of recessive genes from its parents.
Word origin: Latin recess(us), a withdrawal, receding part + -ive.
Related forms: recessiveness (noun), recessively (adverb).