Definition of gene in English:



  • 1(in informal use) a unit of heredity that is transferred from a parent to offspring and is held to determine some characteristic of the offspring.

    ‘proteins coded directly by genes’
    • ‘The condition is rare and is caused by the inheritance of an abnormal gene from an affected parent.’
    • ‘The child will be a carrier of the trait if only one gene from the parents is transmitted.’
    • ‘Nowadays, the phrase is extended to mean the ability to pass on one's genes to one's offspring.’
    • ‘If your genes code for grey hair at a later time, you will become grey as you get older.’
    • ‘Karma helps to imprint a code on the soul, similar to the genetic code on the genes.’
    congenital characteristics, congenital traits, genetics, genetic make-up, genes
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(in technical use) a distinct sequence of nucleotides forming part of a chromosome, the order of which determines the order of monomers in a polypeptide or nucleic acid molecule which a cell (or virus) may synthesize.
      • ‘In other mollusks a relatively small number of mitochondrial genes are transcribed from the second strand.’
      • ‘Each of these species contains opsin genes which are not expressed in the adult retina.’
      • ‘The accessory gland protein-coding genes were isolated in such a way that favors overrepresentation of highly expressed genes.’
      • ‘Proteins encoded by the abnormal genes are then identified and their interactions studied by pathway analyses and probable functions deduced.’
      • ‘The new analysis confirmed the existence of 1,098 protein-coding genes on the X chromosome.’


Early 20th century: from German Gen, from Pangen, a supposed ultimate unit of heredity (from Greek pan- all + genos race, kind, offspring).