Talk:Phenotypic trait

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Resolved Discussion: Article modified to satisfy[edit]

This section's heading was retrofitted by User:Raazer as part of their 16:46, 10 March 2005 edit.Noted by Jerzyt 06:26, 3 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The phrase "If the alleles for a trait in one organism are different" is so unclear as to be entirely meaningless. Will the original author please edit to indicate what is different from what???
Patrick0Moran 04:42, 12 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

Hello, there is an article called trait that is linked to an article called Phenotype. The Phenotype article is nice and compact as it is, but it does not contain all the information in "trait". I'm sort of itching to merge the contents of "trait" to "Phenotype". The Phenotype article will get much longer, however it would be more complete (the contents of trait would go below all that is included in phenotype as of today). Also, the movement of "[biological] trait" to "phenotype" would open up the trait articlespace to allow for a redirect to "biological trait" and "computer science trait" What do you guys think?Raazer 16:46, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Raazer did not quite put in the appropriate merge tags in the main articles, so I added that. Personally, I think this is probably a good idea, as long as all the material in both articles is retained (or at least all the general concepts). Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 01:50, 29 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]



  • Oppose. The definition of phenotype at Phenotype is blurred. A phenotype is not a trait, nor is it a property of a trait, as suggested above: a specific trait is one of the properties of a phenotype. A phenotype manifests a set of traits. "The phenotype of an individual organism is either its total physical appearance and constitution or a specific manifestation of a trait, such as size, eye color..." This is causing the apparent problem. Wouldn't the following be more correct? "The phenotype of an individual organism is its total physical appearance and constitution; a specific manifestation of a trait, such as size, eye color... is phenotypical, that is typical of the individual."--Wetman 14:31, 13 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I don't believe it should be merged, the good thing and why everybody goes to wikipedia for info is that one doesn't have to look through a huge chunk of stuff to find one sentence on the searched topic.
    —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:45, 1 February 2006
  • Phenotype can go much deeper in discussion than the general term trait. It needs definatly some additional stuff to make it nice. --KimvdLinde 02:21, 2 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A trait is something we can give a name, like body size, or eye color. The phenotype for the trait eye color can vary between blue, brown and grey. The phenotype (blue) is a property of the trait and caused by genes (coding for not making melanine) and the environment. As such, they are very distinct different aspects.--KimvdLinde 04:56, 3 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I oppose as well, for the reasons already listed. "Phenotype" and "trait" are not exactly interchangeable, so I rather think they should retain their separate places in the encyclopedia. --Zeroinbarnotation —Preceding undated comment added 04:28, 3 February 2006 .


  • I'm moved against support by several arguments made. Chiefly that the trait is "eye color", while the phenotype is "blue", so the have meaning at a bit different level. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 01:50, 29 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • Traits include genetic traits and traits such as eye color, number of fingers, etc. So the word "trait" can apply to genotype and to phenotype. Why, then, mash trait and phenotype together? P0M 23:50, 30 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This is not an argument for or against merger, but PatrickOMoran misunderstands the meaning of "trait" (see article, e.g. second sentence, and other parts). Traits are linked with genotypes (with varing plasticities and heritabilities), but the trait is the actual phenotypic expression. When we say someone has blue eyes or five fingers, we describe a physical quality, i.e. a phenotype. It's an additional (interesting) fact, that genes determine or shape that trait. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 01:30, 31 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Overall, no real support in favour, some clear arguments agains, for that reason, no merge. I will make he changes as I suggeste below, and we can go on from there. KimvdLinde 20:43, 3 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Trait vs Phenotype[edit]

Given the current definitions of phenotype and trait (biology) - and the various comments above about a proposed merge between the two, I would like to know the difference between a trait and a phenotype. To me, trait and phenotype both mean measurable characteristic. (If you find a reference, can you paste it here as well?) The definition at phenotype closely matches the "Encyclopedia of Genetics" reference that I added - it doesn't have a separate entry for trait. Dr d12 15:22, 14 May 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

  • Here are a few definitions to contrast:
    _ _ t1 (from thefreedictionary and wiktionary) trait: A distinguishing feature or identifying characteristic (a quality). A genetically determined characteristic or condition, e.g.: a recessive trait.
    _ _ t2 (from biology online) trait: A qualitative characteristic; a discrete attribute as contrasted with metrical character. A trait is amenable to segregation rather than quantitative analysis; it is an attribute of phenotype, not of genotype.
    _ _ p1 (from thefreedictionary) Phenotype: The observable physical or biochemical characteristics of an organism, as determined by both genetic makeup and environmental influences, or: The expression of a specific trait, such as stature or blood type, based on genetic and environmental influences.
    _ _ p2 (from biology online) Phenotype: An organisms total physical appearance and constitution.
Dr d12 15:37, 14 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Computer Science[edit]

Shouldn't there be a disambguation for Traits in prototype-based object-oriented programming languages? Wouter Lievens 14:06, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I don't know about CS, but if you do and others agree, no problem with the disambiguation.Raazer 16:48, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Needed changes[edit]

I propose to change : "As one synonym for trait is phenotype; the difference is that this second term can also indicate the total physical appearance or constitution." to “The term phenotype is sometimes used as a synonym for trait in common use, but strictly speaking, does not indicate the trait, but the status of that trait (e.g., the trait eye colour has the phenotypes blue, brown and hazel).” This will take away the incorect implication that I think resulted in the request for merging this, which I think is incorrect (and not how I would teach quantitative genetics at the university) --KimvdLinde 06:30, 3 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am in favour of moving this article to "Trait (biological)" and make from "Trait" an Disambiguation page pointing at both "Trait (biological)" and "Trait (computer science)". Furthermore, "Character (biological)", "Biological trait" and "Biological character" could become redirects to "Trait (biological)". --KimvdLinde 13:27, 3 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I support what KimvdLinde says. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 14:32, 3 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Ok, I have added the changes, all links are redirected to this page, etc etc etc.--KimvdLinde 23:17, 3 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I removed the external link that sent the user to an advertisement.-- Tyanlee 05:28, 10 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


What about cultural traits used in holocultural research to compare linkages between different cultures. For instance, succession by the neice is a trait
—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:20, 12 October 2006

Phenotype again[edit]

It is perhaps a bit late as the merge discussion above is already quite old. Nevertheless, I agree with those that argue that there is no real difference between trait and phenotype. For instance, E.J. Gardner (Principles of Genetics, 4th ed., John Wiley, New York, 1972, P. 456) defines phenotype as: "Characteristic of an individual observed or discernible by other means (i.e., tallness in garden peas; color blindness or bloodtype in man). Individuals of the same phenotype may appear alike but may not breed alike." The first phrase seems to be the same as what here is called "character", whereas the second phrase seems to refere to what here is called "trait". In both cases Gardner uses "phenotype".

Another point is that the current article seems a bit muddled. "Trait" (or phenotype) applies to all kinds of organisms, including, for instance, bacteria. So why give a description of chromosome structure, discuss the centromere, QTL and what not? It is not pertinent here. The same goes for the section on Mendelian expression of genes (a strange title in itself) and the discussion on the biochemistry of dominance. All those subjects do not belong here and are on top of that much better discussed elsewhere.

Most of the "Definition" section is superfluous, too. It is not necessary to describe the whole chain of transcription etc. In fact, protein or even RNA expression are sometimes regarded as phenotypes (traits) in themselves.

In summary, I don't see much that needs to be saved from this article. As far as I see, it can just be replaced by a redirect to phenotype....

--Crusio (talk) 14:03, 29 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since I posted this message almost 2 years ago, nobody has answered and not much has happened here. I therefore propose to redirect this article to phenotype and will do so in one or two weeks, unless there are significant arguments against this. --Crusio (talk) 09:44, 28 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Material misplaced into article "Adaptation"[edit]

Adaptation states that it is about the process, but someone who didn't understand disambiguation (perhaps the one who put about 4 links into the entry for Adaptation on the Dab page ) made this the second 'graph of the article:

Also, the term adaptation may refer to a feature which is especially important for an organism's survival.<ref>Both uses of the term 'adaptation' are recognized by King R.C. Stansfield W.D. and Mulligan P. 2006. A dictionary of genetics. Oxford, 7th ed.</ref> For example, the adaptation of horses' teeth to the grinding of grass, or their ability to run fast and escape predators. Such adaptations are produced in a variable population by the better suited forms reproducing more successfully, that is, by natural selection.

If it is not redundant to Phenotypic trait, perhaps someone will see fit to (uhh) adapt it in the accompanying article.
--Jerzyt 06:01, 3 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Organisms that have the same trait(s)[edit]

Is there a name for a set of species that share the same (set of) given phenotypic trait(s)? (talk) 12:09, 29 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fact appears kinda rantlike/random?[edit]

He is also known to have 'cheated' on his experiments, removing outliers and generally 'tidying' datasets - statistics, and repeating the experiments, shows that his results were just 'too perfect', a point first noted by the Godfather of statistics, RA Fisher, in 1936:

I'm just some nerd scrolling through but this jumped out at me as rantlike and slightly out of place. Can anyone who knows more than me help this statement appear more professional? Thanks

Also the links pretty massive.

Mark T Bowen (talk) 23:21, 6 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, this section is a bit amateurish, and not really needed in this article. The topic is considered in Gregor Mendel#Controversy. The last there sentence reads: "Some recent researchers have suggested that Fisher's criticisms of Mendel's work may have been exaggerated".[1][2]
IMO, the section should be cut as irrelevant. If left, the above (including refs) should be added as balance. Macdonald-ross (talk) 08:36, 17 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Definition defective[edit]

The basic problem with this article is that the definition only works with Mendelian-type characters, which are discrete and little influenced by nurture. In the definition we have at present, traits are contrasted with characters, as follows. A character is a feature of a species which may present as various traits. Examples:

  1. Eye colour = character
    1. Blue eye colour = trait1
    2. Brown eye colour = trait2
  2. Appearance of pea = character
    1. wrinkled = trait1
    2. smooth = trait2

Used like this, a trait can be defined as:

1. Any detectable variation of an inherited character. It is the expression of genes as part of the phenotype.[3]

But, if an animal's weight is a character (which it surely is), then it is not clear what the trait is. This is because weight is a) continuous rather than discrete, b) polygenic in its inheritance and c) because weight is influenced by both heredity and environment. The alternative is to say that trait and character mean the same thing, as for example:

2. The Dictionary of Genetics: "For trait, see character" and "Character: any detectable phenotypic property of an organism; synonymous with phenotype, trait".[4]

Both these sources are well established, and widely used. Macdonald-ross (talk) 08:59, 17 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  1. ^ Hartl, Daniel L. (1 March 2007). "Mud Sticks: On the Alleged Falsification of Mendel's Data". Genetics. 175 (3): 975–979. PMC 1840063. PMID 17384156. [The] allegation of deliberate falsification can finally be put to rest, because on closer analysis it has proved to be unsupported by convincing evidence. {{cite journal}}: Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  2. ^ Novitski, Charles E. (March 2004). "On Fisher's criticism of Mendel's results with the garden pea". Genetics. 166 (3): 1133–1136. doi:10.1534/genetics.166.3.1133. PMC 1470775. PMID 15082533. Retrieved 2010-03-20. In conclusion, Fisher's criticism of Mendel's data—that Mendel was obtaining data too close to false expectations in the two sets of experiments involving the determination of segregation ratios—is undoubtedly unfounded. {{cite journal}}: Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  3. ^ Klug, William S. et al 2012. Concepts of genetics. 10th ed, Pearson, p45 and G-19. ISBN 0-321-79578-4; ISBN 978-0-79578-6 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: checksum
  4. ^ King R.C. Stansfield W.D. & Mulligan P.K. 2006. A dictionary of genetics. 7th ed, Oxford University Press, p448 & p71 respectively. ISBN 0-19-530761-5
  • OK, if you want to comment on this, have a look at the version in Simple English, which I have just reorganised. [1] Macdonald-ross (talk) 10:58, 18 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is that eye really blue?[edit]

Is it? --Oeoi (talk) 15:05, 13 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It appears closer to a gray hue. Let's see what other people think, though.
SIGNATURE: EnigmaLord515 (talk) 01:50, 15 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree. IMO, the discussion is more "show" than "tell"; so I move we change the image and link as thus, as done. Others may have other visions. Jbeans (talk) 09:51, 16 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply][edit]

loginin (talk) 01:28, 21 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Need to discuss disease in this article[edit]

Whether or not all diseases are also traits, this article needs to specify Wikipedia's take on this issue. For example, the sentence "All diseases are a subset of traits". Or "If a bioentity is a disease, it is not considered a trait". Or more likely, some nuanced discussion of the differing views on this issue. Jaredroach (talk) 21:01, 26 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]