In the field of genetics characteristics are already determined during cell division. In plants the process is by mitosis and in animals it is through meiosis. The transference of the genes and the continued set of data that is passed from one generation to the next is heredity.
Genes contain alleles. Alleles harbor genetic codes. One may have an allele for blue eyes. They also hold the genetic information that determines if a gene is recessive or dominant. Without the coding that is provided on alleles there would only be random information passed forward and the populations of seeds, plants, animals, and humans, would not have traits that would reoccur.