Dictionary > Heterozygote


noun, plural: heterozygotes
A nucleus, cell or organism possessing two different alleles for a particular gene
A cell or an individual may be classified based on zygosity (i.e. the degree of similarity or the dissimilarity of the DNA sequences in specific coding segments, or genes, on the homologous chromosomes). A cell or an organism may be homozygous, heterozygous, hemizygous, or nullizygous. The nucleus, cell or organism that is described as heterozygous means that the alleles on the matching loci of homologous chromosomes are not identical. Such nucleus, cell, or organism is also referred to as a heterozygote.
Humans and other diploid organisms have two sets of chromosomes (one set from the father and the other from the mother). Each maternal chromosome has a corresponding paternal chromosome to match with based on their loci. Each pair of chromosomes is referred to as homologous chromosomes. When the homologous chromosomes bear different alleles on the same loci, such an organism is referred to as heterozygote. One of these alleles will manifest in the phenotype of the organism and the other will not. The allele that is expressed is said to be the dominant allele whereas the other one that is not is referred to as the recessive allele for a particular gene.
Word origin: Greek hetero (“different”) + zygote

See also:

Related term:

Related form(s):

  • heterozygous (adjective, of, or pertaining to heterozygosity or a homozygote)

You will also like...

Freshwater aquatic plankton
Freshwater Communities & Plankton

Planktons are microscopic organisms that live suspended in aquatic habitats. There are two groups: the phytoplanktons an..

Community Patterns

Learn about community patterns and the ecological factors influencing these patterns. Revisit some of the ecosystems you..


Stems primarily provide plants structural support. This tutorial includes lectures on the external form of a woody twig ..

Lights' Effect on Growth
Lights’ Effect on Growth

This tutorial elaborates on the effect of light on plant growth. It describes how different plants require different amo..

Protein (illustration)
Protein Variety

The sequence of amino acids determines the type of protein. Protein is synthesized according to the sequence of nucleoti..

Darwin's Finches - Natural Selection
Darwin and Natural Selection

This tutorial investigates the genetic diversity in more detail. It also delineates how certain alleles are favored over..