I bet you have heard that term many times, especially in context of discovery and some very exciting headlines. But what does it actually mean?
Phenotype is how you are: short or tall, fast or slow, with blue or brown eyes. Your capabilities and tendencies.
What determines your phenotype?
Your genes and the life you have lived.
A bit like with a plant: you might cut a piece of an ivy and put it in water. Let’s say you cut two pieces – you plant one in a dry dark room and the other in a humid, bright place. You can imagine that they will grow in a completely different way. Their leaves will have a slightly different color, their roots will grow differently, spaces between leaves will wary etc. Even though they have the same set genes. Their environment will force them to use different sets of instructions to adapt to their current situation. Even though they are the same genotype they resulted two different phenotypes.
And why does it matter? Because more and more new drug design concepts start looking not only at the genetics, but at the result of both environment and DNA. How we actually turn out to be in reality.