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Genetics and Genomics

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Qualitative vs. Quantitative Characters

GENES-7XKN72

Many characteristics can be broadly classified as qualitatively inherited or quantitatively inherited. The table below summarizes the main differences between these two classifications.

Qualitatively inherited Quantitatively inherited
Controlled largely by one gene locus (or maybe two loci) Controlled by many gene loci
Phenotypes can be described by a small number of distinct categories or classes Phenotypes show continuous distribution
Routine environmental influences (such as nutrition, climatic conditions, etc.) do not alter phenotypes Routine environmental influences (such as nutrition, climatic conditions, etc.) alter phenotypes to varying degrees

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For the characters below, choose if qualitative inheritance or quantitative inheritance is a more likely descriptor.

Mature skeletal size is

inherited.

Polydactyly (possessing extra fingers/toes or not) is

inherited.

Litter size in mice and pigs is

inherited.

Likelihood to develop heart disease is

inherited.

Black vs. chocolate coat color in labrador retriever dogs is

inherited.