Definition of suicide gene in US English:

suicide gene


  • An introduced gene that causes a tumor cell to produce an enzyme that will attract a drug lethal to the tumor.

    • ‘These mutant sperm would then be more likely to reach an egg, and as a result the mutant suicide gene would become more common.’
    • ‘The polymers, which are both pH and temperature sensitive, may also function someday as ‘suicide genes’ for cancer cells, forcing the damaged cells to self-destruct, Mallapragada said.’
    • ‘Typically, these studies have tested the use of the suicide gene from the herpes simplex virus to develop a gene therapy approach that kills cancer cells in the presence of the antiviral drug - gancyclovir.’
    • ‘After 24 hours of continuous exposure to the radio waves, the suicide genes were turned on in far more leukaemia cells than in a control population that had not been exposed.’
    • ‘The second method is to use a chemical to trigger what the committee called ‘suicide genes’ in bacteria or fungi if they escape confinement and pose a risk, though this method has never been field tested.’