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An allele is one part of a gene which specifies a characteristic for the trait that gene is coded.
For example, in the eye color gene, there are two main alleles, blue and brown. How the trait will look depends on which allele of the gene is present and the pairing of alleles that occurs.
A brown allele in the eye color gene results in brown eyes. Long and short could be alleles of the gene that controls plant height.