Definition of lethal gene in US English:

lethal gene


  • A gene that is capable of causing the death of an organism, usually during the development of the embryo. Also called lethal factor, lethal mutation.

    • ‘This method magnifies the effect of heterozygous mutations on the posterior phenotypes, thus identifying even lethal genes involved in the targeted process.’
    • ‘Complementation analyses showed that each carried a mutation in a known male-specific lethal gene.’
    • ‘To screen the genome for zygotic genes required for normal PCD without bias against lethal genes, we have performed a screen of genetic deficiencies (chromosomal deletions).’
    • ‘Second, this system makes possible the generation of transgenic lines that carry lethal genes or genes for toxic proteins and enables the functional analysis of these genes as well as the targeted destruction of a cell or tissue.’
    • ‘In retrospect, the screen, while labor intensive, was quite straightforward and could be applied to other embryonic lethal genes with a clear cuticle phenotype (arm's position on the X chromosome eased the effort).’