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Heterozygosity refers to an individual's Genotype. It occurs when an organism inherits a dominant and recessive allele for a particular gene from the parents. The phenotype of this heterozygous individual is determined by the dominant allele in the genotype while the recessive allele will show nothing in the phenotype[1]. A heterozygous gene is typically denoted by the abbreviation Aa but this can be different depending on your source[2]. The opposite to heterozygous is Homozygous.


  1. Griffths A. J. F., Wessler S. R., Lewontin R. C., Carroll S. B. (2008) Introduction to Genetic Analysis. 9th Edition. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company
  2. Hartl, D. L and Jones, E.W. (2005) Genetics: analysis of genes and genomes 6th edition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
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