The main difference between acquired and inherited traits is that organisms develop acquired traits during their lifetime and these traits do not pass to the next generation, whereas organisms receive inherited traits from the previous generation and these traits pass to the next generation through reproduction.
Acquired and inherited traits are two types of characteristics that organisms develop during their lifetime. Generally, a trait is a genetic characteristic of an organism. Therefore, it passes from one to the second generation through reproduction. However, acquired traits do not pass from one generation to the second generation as genes do not encode them.
Key Areas Covered
- What are Acquired Traits
- Definition, Features, Importance
- What are Inherited Traits
- Definition, Features, Importance
- Similarities Between Acquired and Inherited Traits
- Outline of Common Features
- Difference Between Acquired and Inherited Traits
- Comparison with Key Differences
Acquired Traits, Inherited Traits
What are Acquired Traits
An acquired trait is a character that an organism develops as a result of environmental influences. Therefore, the main characteristic feature of these traits is that genes do not encode these traits in the DNA of the organism. Since organisms do not encode these traits, these traits do not pass to the next generation.
Initially, Lamark hypothesized that acquired traits can pass from one to the next generation to make an organism better suited to the environment. Later, Darwin contradicted Lamark’s hypothesis and proved that acquired traits do not pass from one to the next generation.
What are Inherited Traits
Inherited traits are the traits that pass from one generation to their offspring. Some examples include hair, skin, eye color, body type, height, and susceptibility to certain diseases. The main characteristic feature of inherited traits is that organisms encode each of the inherited traits in individual genes.
Moreover, the human genome contains around 35000 genes. Generally, each gene carries a particular trait. Parents inherit each trait. Gregory Mendel described inherited traits in his experiment with pea plants. He further explained that dominant traits are the visible phenotype of the organism. In addition to that, the traits that are not visible are recessive traits.
Similarities Between Acquired and Inherited Traits
- Acquired and inherited traits are two types of characteristics of an organism.
- They occur during the lifetime of the organism.
- They are visible characters.
Difference Between Acquired and Inherited Traits
Acquired trait refers to phenotypic/ physical features influenced by environmental factors and are not inherited by the next generation while inherited trait refers to traits or variants that genes encode in DNA and pass from parent to offspring during reproduction.
Usually, acquired traits do not pass from one generation to the next generation while inherited traits pass from one generation to their offspring.
Encoded by DNA
Genes do not encode acquired traits while genes encode inherited traits.
Acquired traits occur due to the influence of the environment while inherited traits occur due to the influence of genes.
Acquired traits do not take part in evolution while inherited traits take part in evolution.
Some examples of acquired traits include muscles while examples of inherited traits include hair, skin, etc.
In brief, acquired traits are a type of characteristics that an organism develops during its lifetime. However, they do not pass from one to the next generation as organisms do not encode the traits in DNA. In contrast, inherited traits are the characteristics that an organism develops due to the influence of genes. These characters pass through generations as genes encode them. Therefore, the main difference between acquired and inherited traits is their ability to pass to the next generation.
- Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, May 30). Acquired characteristic. Wikipedia. Retrieved August 12, 2022.
- “Man in Muscle Back View ” By Pixabay – Own Work (CC0) via pexels
- “Hair colors punnett” By Iamnotabunny – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia