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

Earlier this year, Nature Medicine published papers suggesting that editing one part of the DNA using this method could harm other parts of an organism’s genetic code. Angela Chen, The Verge, "Flawed DNA editing of alleged ‘designer babies’ may have put their health at risk," 29 Nov. 2018 The project will sequence the genome — the entire genetic code of a living thing — of more than 100 southern-resident orca whales using skin or other samples collected from live and dead orcas over the past two decades. Phuong Le, The Seattle Times, "Scientists to sequence genes of struggling southern-resident orca whales," 5 Oct. 2018 Different ways to downsize a genome B. recurrentis causes relapses because its genetic code enables the bacteria to run through a random sequence of different variants of two proteins, called antigens, on its surface. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Ancient DNA reveals the secrets of a devastating European disease," 26 Sep. 2018 The bigger the genetic code, the more can go wrong, and much of what the genome contains, Salzberg said, is unnecessary. Scott Wilson, Washington Post, "As threats to California’s giant redwoods grow, the key to their salvation might be in their complex genetic code.," 7 Feb. 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of genetic code

1958, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about genetic code

Share genetic code

Statistics for genetic code

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for genetic code

The first known use of genetic code was in 1958

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on genetic code

What made you want to look up genetic code? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!