8 Main Difference between Gene and Allele with Table

What is the difference between gene and allele?

Genetics is the study of genetic materials. The topic tends to be quite interesting and it comprises terms such as gene, allele, phenotypes, and genotypes among many others. These terms tend to confuse a lot of students when they are preparing for their exams.

The lesson provides detailed insight into the difference between genes and alleles with a comparison table. The main aim of creating a comparison chart is to ensure the student has a deeper understanding of these two terms that may look familiar. Let’s find out:

Difference between Gene and Allele

Meaning of Gene

A gene is a unit of hereditary information and it is normally used to control specific traits in an organism. The structure of the gene comprises two alleles and they are encoded for specific proteins. The core function of a gene is to express certain traits and they do not occur in pairs. Examples of genes are eye color, hair color, and hairline shape.

Meaning of Allele

An allele is a specific form of a gene and it can either be dominant or recessive. They are responsible for bringing variations in traits of an organism. They normally occur in pairs and opposite to the phenotypes. Examples of alleles are blue eyes, blonde hair, and V-shaped hairline.

Comparison Chart: Gene vs Allele

Basic TermsGeneAllele
MeaningIt is a portion of DNA that determines particular traitsIt is a specific form of a gene
Core FunctionResponsible for expression of traitsResponsible for variation in traits
PairingDo not occur in pairsOccur in pairs
FormationAre passed from parents to offspringHelp to determine how features appear in an individual
SharingAll humans share the exact same genesThe expression of these genes is decided by alleles
GeneralizationNo generalizationA pair of alleles produce opposing phenotypes
DifferentiationNo differentiationCan either be homozygous or heterozygous
ExamplesEye color, Blood group, Skin color.Eye color: blue, green, or brown eyes, Blood group: A, B, O, and AB, Skin color: white skin, black skin.

Core Differences between Gene and Allele 

  1. A gene is a segment of DNA that control certain traits whereas an allele is a form of a particular gene
  2. A single gene determines a particular trait whereas multiple alleles bring variations to the trait.
  3. Genes are found in all known organisms whereas alleles can be identified in multi-genome organisms.
  4. Genes occur as a single unit whereas alleles occur in pairs.
  5. Genes encode for a single protein whereas alleles produce opposite phenotypes
  6. Genes create the individual while alleles bring differences to individuals in a population.
  7. Alleles can either be homozygous or heterozygous whereas genes have no differentiation
  8. Examples of genes are Eye color, Blood group and skin color whereas alleles are Eye color: blue, green or brown eyes, Blood group: A, B, O and AB, Skin color: white skin, black skin.

Comparison Video

Summary

The core difference between gene and allele is that a gene is a single unit of DNA that control specific traits whereas alleles are multiple forms of a gene that bring variations to the trait. Examples of alleles are Blue eyes, blonde hair, and V-shaped hairline while that of genes are Eye color, hair color, and hairline shape.

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