|This article is about the current version of DF.|
V0.31.01 introduced a system of inheritance and genetics to go along with the appearance modifiers, allowing children to inherit those from their parents. Apart from appearance modifiers, attributes can also be inherited, according to Dwarf Fortress Talk #8.
Genetic information is saved for every historical figure, from which each culture derives a number of tissue colors and other appearance modifiers that are likely to be found on any given member of that culture. It is currently unknown whether the abstract entity populations have any impact on the entity's genetic profile, or if only the historical figures do.
In tissue colors, whether a color is dominant or recessive is determined by the color's position in the list of possible colors for that tissue. The first colors listed are dominant over the colors below them. Whether genes besides color have dominance and recessiveness is unknown at this time.