Typically, a gene is dominant because it is the active gene. Genes which do nothing, perform no action, are recessive. An example of this is blue and brown eyes. The blue eye is an eye without pigment, and brown is the color your eye turns once pigment has been added. People often receive a gene which produces this pigment and therefore many people have brown eyes, making it the dominant trait. But if you receive zero pigment genes you end up with blue eyes. This is recessive because we each receive genes from mom and dad, so there are four genes which must lack the pigment gene in order to end up with blue eyes. There are many other reasons a trait could be dominant or recessive, or there may be incomplete dominance in which case you receive a mixture of two different traits.
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