allele

noun
al·lele | \ ə-ˈlēl \

Definition of allele 

1 : any of the alternative forms of a gene that may occur at a given locus (see locus sense 3)

2 : either of a pair of alternative Mendelian characters (see character entry 1 sense 1b(3)) (such as smooth and wrinkled seed in the pea)

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Other words from allele

allelic \-ˈlē-lik, -ˈle- \ adjective
allelism \-ˈlē-ˌli-zəm, -ˈle- \ noun

Examples of allele in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Short Peruvians have a version, or allele, of a gene called FBN1 that differs by one base from the gene's usual DNA sequence. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Study of short Peruvians reveals new gene with a major impact on height," 16 May 2018 The new allele accounts for another 1% all by itself, the researchers estimate. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Study of short Peruvians reveals new gene with a major impact on height," 16 May 2018 Some of these ancient alleles were beneficial, such as one that boosted immune responses. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "Modern humans lost DNA when they left Africa—but mating with Neandertals brought some back," 23 Oct. 2017 These APOE genes — everyone has two of them — come in four slightly different variants called alleles. Paul Sisson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Do parents' Alzheimer's disease doom their children?," 14 July 2017 Michael Usry Jr.: There are 34 out of 35 alleles that match. … CBS News, "The DNA of a Killer," 12 July 2017 That means the companies must translate the demanding argot of genetics — alleles and phenotypes and centromeres — into something approachable, even simple, for physicians and laypersons alike. Thomas Goetz, WIRED, "23AndMe Will Decode Your DNA for $1,000. Welcome to the Age of Genomics," 17 Nov. 2007

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'allele.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of allele

1921, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for allele

German Allel, short for Allelomorph

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Time Traveler for allele

The first known use of allele was in 1921

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More Definitions for allele

allele

noun
al·lele | \ ə-ˈlē(ə)l \

Medical Definition of allele 

1 : any of the alternative forms of a gene that may occur at a given locus

2 : either of a pair of alternative Mendelian characters (as ability versus inability to taste the chemical phenylthiocarbamide)

Other words from allele

allelic \-ˈlē-lik, -ˈlel-ik \ adjective
allelism \-ˈlē(ə)l-ˌiz-əm, -ˈlel-ˌiz- \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on allele

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about allele

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