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

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Examples of genetic code in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The surge in aDNA data is due to cheaper, faster methods for reading genetic code, as well as the discovery three years ago that the dense petrous bone of the inner ear can preserve up to 100 times more aDNA than other skeletal parts. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "State of Science: Ancient DNA Starts Answering Archaeology's Big Questions," 1 Jan. 2019 Knowing what in the vast expanse of the genetic code is behind traits can fuel better treatments and information about future risks and illuminate how biology and evolution work. Quanta Magazine, "Theory Suggests That All Genes Affect Every Complex Trait," 20 June 2018 He was interrogated by an FBI agent and spent a month under suspicion — all because the killer’s genetic code was similar to his father’s, whose DNA sample had been obtained by Avi Selk, Washington Post, "The ingenious and ‘dystopian’ DNA technique police used to hunt the Golden State Killer," 27 Apr. 2018 This might have something to do with the size of shark genetic code, which is one-and-a-half times larger than human DNA. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Could Shark DNA Help Fight Cancer in Humans?," 22 Feb. 2019 Source: Innovative Genomics Initiative John Gould / The Wall Street Journal Crispr holds the promise to correct intractable diseases by rewriting a person’s genetic code, or DNA. Wenxin Fan, WSJ, "Chinese Gene-Editing Experiment Loses Track of Patients, Alarming Technology’s Inventors," 28 Dec. 2018 The authors mainly focused on searching for possible bacterial and viral DNA, because those are the types of genetic code that are relatively easy to extract from ancient samples. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Gut bacteria linked to cataclysmic epidemic that wiped out 16th-century Mexico," 16 Jan. 2018 Whenever the bacteria’s enzymes manage to kill off an invading virus, other little enzymes will come along, scoop up the remains of the virus’s genetic code, cut it up into little bits, and then store it in those CRISPR spaces. Brad Plumer, Vox, "A simple guide to CRISPR, one of the biggest science stories of the decade," 23 July 2018 Alleles are crucial parts of our genetic code, variations on DNA that allow for unique traits like eye color. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Infamous CRISPR Baby Scientist Is Missing," 3 Dec. 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

6 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for genetic code

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with genetic code Encyclopedia article about genetic code

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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