How can I determine the difference between genotype and phenotype? What do those words even mean? These are some common questions asked by weed growers across the globe. 

If you’ve been dabbling in the thought of breeding ganja, you might be taking some interest in the cannabis plant anatomy and genetics to decide on what traits you’d like to breed into your stock. Two words you’ll likely come across and perhaps even confuse are genotype and phenotype.

We’re here to clear up all the questions you may have surrounding the difference between phenotype and genotype and why they’re important for your growing journey. 

Let’s get started.


What’s different between genotype and phenotype?

Before diving into distinguishing between phenotype and genotype, let's take a look at the word gene. A gene is the section of DNA responsible for a physical trait

Nucleotides are the molecules that DNA is made of. DNA can then combine in many different ways to form alleles that bind to make up a genotype.

You can either have dominant or recessive alleles or a combination of the two. An organism is homozygous for a characteristic if they have two dominant or two recessive alleles for that trait, and heterozygous is they’ve one dominant and one recessive allele

Homozygous and heterozygous are another two words you’ll need to be familiar with when it comes to explaining the difference between phenotype and genotype. Homozygous means “the same,” and heterozygous means “different.” For instance, if a shrub with heavy yields is crossed with one that produces small yields, you’ll have mixed or different genes, and the offspring will be heterozygous for yield production. 


What Is the Difference Between Genotype and Phenotype



An example of how genotypes are formed is bud color in cannabis plants. For the sake of this example, let's say the male plant’s buds are green and the females are purple. If the allele for green nugs is dominant (B) and the allele for purple is recessive (b), the offspring will be heterozygous for green heads, displaying them as an observable aspect (Bb). For it to have purple buds, the offspring would have to be homozygous for purple (bb). 



To comprehend the difference between genotype and phenotype, you need to know that a cannabis phenotype is a physical expression of a trait. This can also be described as how marijuana plants express their genetic makeup. Using the same example as above, the phenotype of the offspring is green buds. 

Marijuana phenotypes are a result of their genotypes, but they’re not the same thing. Environmental factors such as growing conditions, lighting, nutrients, soil type, and temperature can all play a role in cannabis phenotypes.

It’s easy to observe your marijuana’s phenotype. By looking at it, you can make deductions on its physical characteristics. Genotypes, on the other hand, are not as easily observed and may require genetic testing.


How’s it possible for plants with the same genotype to show different physical characteristics?

Organisms have the ability to adapt to their environments. These adaptations may be the reason that different cannabis phenotypes are present in marijuana plant clones.

Environmental conditions play a vital role in weed phenotypes. Two plants with the same genotype can be grown in different settings and have varying phenotypes. 

For example, a strain with the genotype for thin, elongated leaves will express that trait in ideal conditions. The same strain deprived of light may develop broader leaves to absorb as much of the available sunlight as possible.


What Is the Difference Between Genotype and Phenotype


The use of genetic information for growers

The difference between genotype and phenotype is important for cultivators who plan on breeding to grasp and use. New subspecies can be produced by altering the growing conditions and environment of weed species with the same genotype. This allows you to reproduce desired traits in strains.

Often weed phenotypes and genotypes may determine the plant's needs. This is vital information to relay to weed farmers to grow each strain to its full potential. By manipulating environmental conditions, growers can get the most out of their seeds.

You'll also need to know the genotype of your plants if you're planning to cross species to create better yields, bigger buds, and desired effects. By understanding the difference between phenotype and genotype, you can manipulate species and create the ideal strain to suit certain needs.


To that end

One of the things to know before you start growing marijuana is the answer to the question: what is the difference between a genotype and a phenotype? This age-old question opens up the doors to new breeding secrets you would never have imagined existed.

Suppose you want to further your marijuana career. In that case, you'll need to know the difference between phenotype and genotype is that phenotypes are easily observable characteristics and genotypes are the combination of genes to create those characteristics. If you can distinguish between phenotype and genotype, you'll know exactly how to choose the best cannabis seeds for your growing purpose

If this article has got you excited to buy some seeds and find out as much as you can about cultivating cannabis, why not check out our seed bank. We offer a huge selection of seeds and all the advice you could ever hope for on how to grow and reap a successful harvest. 

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