What is the difference between heterozygous and homozygous individuals?

When looking to increase your risk of developing a disease or condition, you might consider testing both heterozygous and homozygous individuals. While this may seem like common sense, it is important to understand the differences between the two.

This article will explore what types of people – Heterozygous vs Homozygous – and why these terms are used. It will also provide an overview of different types of Heterozygia, including Homozygia congenital (birth defect) and Homozygia acquired (acquired as an adult). Homozygia acquired during pregnancy Homozygia congenitally (fetal malformation)

In genetics, homozygous and heterozygous refer to two different types of genetic traits. These words can get a bit confusing because they mean two opposite things. They are also often used interchangeably. Let’s break it down.

What is the difference between heterozygous and homozygous individuals?

The answer to this question depends on the situation. If both the alleles of an individual are the same. Then it is called a homozygote and vice versa a heterozygote. Geneticists identify different types of inheritance based on the genetic makeup at a specific locus or position on an inherited chromosome.

A dominant allele when inherited together with a recessive allele results in a heterozygous trait while two homozygous alleles produce an entirely dominant trait, which can never be masked by any other trait.

In general, if both alleles of an individual at one locus or one position on its chromosome are identical. Then it is known as a homozygote for that gene. However, if the alleles of an individual at that particular locus are not identical but instead different from each other. Then it is called a heterozygote. The main reason why people call heterozygotes ‘homozygotes’ is because they all show similar phenotypes and genotypes but with different frequencies and expressivities.

Example Main Difference Between Heterozygous and Homozygous Individuals?

Heterozygous (hetero-gen-si-cus) means different or different from another. In genetics, it refers to two separate versions of the same gene being inherited from two distinct parents. When one version is recessive, the other is dominant — or more commonly, codominant.

Let’s use an analogy to understand this better. Imagine you have a cousin who has blue eyes like you and your mother. And she had green eyes like your grandmother on her father’s side who did not inherit them from her mother. But rather passed them on to her husband (grandfather).

If you have blue eyes while your cousin has green eyes, then you are heterozygous for that trait — different or different from another.

For example, if you have one copy of the allele for a specific trait and another copy from your mother’s lineage. There would be more than one way to acquire that trait from your mother. This is called homogamy.


Hope now you know “What is the difference between heterozygous and homozygous individuals?” A heterozygous individual has one of the normal versions of a gene (allele) present in their cells but not enough to cause any disease symptoms. They are said to be homozygous due to their normal version of the gene being present in both copies of their chromosome. In other words, they have two copies of the same gene — one inherited from each parent.

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