Definition - What does Phenotype mean?

The phenotype of a plant is the term that describes physical characteristics that can be observed by farmers or breeders. These traits include:

  • Height
  • Growth
  • Leaf or shoot development
  • Tolerance and resistance to outside forces (pests or weather)
  • Cluster yields or other physiological qualities

These traits are usually seen between all plants of the same genetic class, but mutations are possible allowing the expression of different traits within the same species.

WineFrog explains Phenotype

Based on the plant’s genetic code, the phenotype is comprised of the genes that are expressed physically and are the basic measurement of individual plants. Phenotyping is used to determine which plants will excel in certain conditions, enhancement of positive traits and to eliminate unwanted characteristics.

Viticultural practices are altered based on the phenotype measurements, but plants with different genotypes may express the same phenotype depending on how they interact with the environment around them. With grapevines, there are specific classification systems that use phenotypes to categorize the different types of varietals and their individual qualities.

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