genetic code


Definition of genetic code 

: the biochemical basis of heredity consisting of codons in DNA and RNA that determine the specific amino acid sequence in proteins and appear to be uniform for nearly all known forms of life

Examples of genetic code in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

For the first time, scientists are mapping the coast redwood’s genome, a genetic code 12 times larger than that of a human being. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Pruitt isn't the first to argue global warming may not be 'a bad thing'," 8 Feb. 2018 The pattern of bands represents the chemical sequence that forms the genetic code for a section of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Fortune, "DNA Detectives Are Searching for Killers in Your Family Tree," 14 June 2018 These possibilities are close to becoming real thanks to technology that uses digital genetic code to chemically synthesize DNA strands overnight—essentially printing out biological material on demand. Laine Higgins, WSJ, "This Company Aims to Deliver DNA on Demand With Its Biological Fax Machine," 12 July 2018 All three have donated their genetic code and cells to science. Karen Weintraub,, "A doctor wages personal and professional battles against aging," 23 June 2018 Khorana’s fundamental work helps unravel the genetic code. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW scientific advances include vitamins, growing human embryonic stem cells in lab," 12 July 2018 Scientists creating a record-breaking 49 genetically identical copies based on her genes, hoping to crack the genetic code behind her tiny stature. Fox News, "Trump eyes even higher tariffs as China trade war escalates," 7 July 2018 The researchers conclude that while a single dose of chlamydia medicine might work for humans, koalas, because of their genetic code, will need a daily dose for up to 30 to 45 days. Deborah Netburn,, "The koalas are threatened. Can their genome help us save them?," 2 July 2018 To protect your genetic code from the structural harm that can lead to skin cancer is one thing—to actively correct that harm is another challenge entirely. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "DNA-Repairing Sunscreen: Legit or Not?," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'genetic code.' 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 genetic code

1958, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

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The first known use of genetic code was in 1958

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More Definitions for genetic code

genetic code


Kids Definition of genetic code

: the arrangement of chemical groups within the genes which specify particular kinds of amino acids used to make proteins

genetic code


Medical Definition of genetic code 

: the biochemical basis of heredity consisting of codons in DNA and RNA that determine the specific amino acid sequence in proteins and that appear to be uniform for all known forms of life

Other Words from genetic code

genetic coding noun

More from Merriam-Webster on genetic code

See words that rhyme with genetic code Encyclopedia article about genetic code

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