Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What is "phenotype"?

Marleen raised the question whether or not introns belong to the phenotype. Her question in a comment on Sandwalk about a paper by E.V. Koonin goes like this:

"Isn’t it true that adaptions regard only the phenotype? Can we consider introns and their evolution as traits that are yes or no under selection?"

Wikipedia says about "phenotype: "A phenotype is the composite of an organism’s observable characteristics or traits...."
Further on it says:
"A phenotype results from the expression of an organism’s genetic code, its genotype,.."

Based on these definitions all components of the phenotype must be observable. Introns are not genotype, because they are not expressed. If we search for "extended phenotype", then we find Dawkins’ definition of behavior as phenotype. But if no microstructures are phenotype, then we would have to use a special terminology for microbiology.

I would see introns as phenotype.

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