Definition of polygene in US English:



  • A gene whose individual effect on a phenotype is too small to be observed, but which can act together with others to produce observable variation.

    • ‘A conceptual framework for understanding how polygenes give rise to discrete phenotypic variation is the threshold model.’
    • ‘This trend was not reversed, even in the case of an uneven distribution of polygenes (when only four or nine polygenes were spread on different chromosomes in the case of selection).’
    • ‘Dormancy is a genetically complex trait controlled by polygenes with effects modified by the genetic background and environmental factors.’
    • ‘Traditional quantitative genetic theory proposes that genetic variation in a quantitative trait is due to polygenes each with a small effect on the phenotype and being sensitive to the environment.’
    • ‘The effects of polygenes on the ability to map oligogenes have been documented and taken into account in algorithms used for commonly used genetic crosses.’


1940s: back-formation from polygenic.