allele

noun
al·​lele | \ ə-ˈlēl How to pronounce allele (audio) \

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 How to pronounce allelic (audio) , -​ˈle-​ \ adjective
allelism \ -​ˈlē-​ˌli-​zəm How to pronounce allelism (audio) , -​ˈle-​ \ noun

Examples of allele in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

If egg and sperm fusion had occurred, the offspring would have two alleles. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Without the help of any male, this female lizard became pregnant alone and gave birth," 7 June 2019 Six of these pairs contained two alleles, or gene variants, carried by the water dragon. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "The National Zoo’s Female Asian Water Dragon Successfully Reproduced Without a Male," 6 June 2019 The same person’s genome may include some gene variants, or alleles, associated with increasing height and others associated with decreasing it. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The modern pygmies of Flores are not related to Homo floresiensis," 2 Aug. 2018 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

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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Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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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 How to pronounce allele (audio) \

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 How to pronounce allelic (audio) , -​ˈlel-​ik How to pronounce allelic (audio) \ adjective
allelism \ -​ˈlē(ə)l-​ˌiz-​əm How to pronounce allelism (audio) , -​ˈlel-​ˌiz-​ How to pronounce allelism (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on allele

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about allele

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