base pair

1 of 2

noun

plural base pairs
: one of the pairs of nucleotide bases on complementary strands of nucleic acid that consist of a purine on one strand joined to a pyrimidine on the other strand by hydrogen bonds holding together the two strands much like the rungs of a ladder and that include adenine linked to thymine in DNA or to uracil in RNA and guanine linked to cytosine in both DNA and RNA

base pair

2 of 2

verb

variants or base-pair
base paired or base-paired; base pairing or base-pairing; base pairs or base-pairs

intransitive verb

: to participate in formation of a base pair
adenine base-pairs with thymine

Examples of base pair in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Over two decades, researchers went from analyzing thousands to billions of base pairs of DNA from individual killer whales. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar. 2024 Humans, for comparison, have just over 3 billion base pairs. Mark Johnson and Dino Grandoni, Anchorage Daily News, 28 Apr. 2023 Genomes are quantified by their chemical constructs, or base pairs. IEEE Spectrum, 8 July 2015 Filling in millions of blanks The new techniques added more than 30 million base pairs missing from the current Human Genome Project, for a grand total of 62,460,029 base pairs in the Y chromosome. Popular Science, 23 Aug. 2023 Researchers do so by reading the sequence of base pairs that make up the RNA. Carl Zimmer, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 As of now, prime editing can still edit only about 40 base pairs at a time among the billions of pairs in the human genome. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 10 Aug. 2023 The smallest belongs to the common bent-wing bat, at just under 2 billion base pairs. Mark Johnson and Dino Grandoni, Anchorage Daily News, 28 Apr. 2023 But while most geneticists are focusing on a few thousand base pairs at a time, some researchers are thinking bigger. IEEE Spectrum, 7 Dec. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'base pair.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Noun

1955, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1959, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of base pair was in 1955

Dictionary Entries Near base pair

Cite this Entry

“Base pair.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/base%20pair. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition

base pair

1 of 2 noun
: one of the pairs of nucleotide bases on complementary strands of nucleic acid that consist of a purine on one strand joined to a pyrimidine on the other strand by hydrogen bonds holding together the two strands much like the rungs of a ladder and that include adenine linked to thymine in DNA or to uracil in RNA and guanine linked to cytosine in both DNA and RNA

base pair

2 of 2 intransitive verb
variants or base-pair
: to participate in formation of a base pair
adenine base pairs with thymine
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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