Genotype is the inherited gene, the actual
Phenotype is the observed properties and
largely a factor of evolution too. This
is the gene observed. An example is that
identical twins may display differently and have subtle differences (perhaps
only identifiable to a few) as a consequence of the environment – essentially
the gene displayed. This is despite the
fact that they are of an identical genotype.
Plasticity in phenotype is where life
adapts to accommodate environmental factors.
Fascinatingly, some insects will develop larger heads or pigmentation to
increase their survival rates once born.
Influencing a non-genetic child is
potentially possible - the concept of
epigenetics. Embryos are able to
‘inherit’ characteristics from the carrier resulting in the carrier or
biological mother influencing the child.
This theory was tested where pony embryos were implanted into
horses. The ponies were born, slightly
larger than if they had been transferred as embryos into pony mothers. This implies that the genes are altered by
the environment of the womb and that the of the biological mother.
Some persons have even gone so far as to
say that the egg donor or genotype is not as important as the phenotype.
This is a very positive contribution for
recipients hearing news of requiring an egg donor. Essentially it implies that the recipient’s
environment – starting at the very womb stage – contribute significantly to the
phenotype or the way the child takes on the inherited gene.
For recipients receiving donor eggs – you matter
far more than you thought!