ho·​mol·​o·​gous | \ hō-ˈmä-lə-gəs How to pronounce homologous (audio) , hə- \

Definition of homologous

1a : having the same relative position, value, or structure: such as
(1) biology : exhibiting biological homology
(2) biology : having the same or allelic genes with genetic loci usually arranged in the same order homologous chromosomes
b chemistry : belonging to or consisting of a chemical series (see series sense 6) whose successive members have a regular difference in composition especially of one methylene group
2 biology : derived from or developed in response to organisms of the same species a homologous tissue graft

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Did You Know?

In his famous discussion of the panda's thumb, Stephen Jay Gould carefully explains how this thumb is not homologous to the human thumb. Although the two digits are used in much the same way (the panda's thumb is essential for stripping bamboo of its tasty leaves, the staple of the panda's diet), the panda's thumb developed from a bone in its wrist and is an addition to the five "fingers" of its paw. The tiny stirrup and anvil bones of our inner ear, however, do seem to be homologous with the bones that allow a garter snake to swallow a frog whole.

Examples of homologous in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Random mutations make the sequences diverge over time, but homologous genes (or homologs) can still be sorted into families by their similarities. Quanta Magazine, "Where Do New Genes Come From?," 9 Apr. 2020 This type of gene disruption — called non-homologous end joining — is being used in sickle-cell and thalassemia trials. Fox News, "Futuristic gene-editing technology may cause cancer," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'homologous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of homologous

1660, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for homologous

Greek homologos agreeing, from hom- + legein to say — more at legend

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Time Traveler for homologous

Time Traveler

The first known use of homologous was in 1660

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Cite this Entry

“Homologous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homologous. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for homologous


ho·​mol·​o·​gous | \ hō-ˈmäl-ə-gəs, hə- How to pronounce homologous (audio) \

Medical Definition of homologous

1a : having the same relative position, value, or structure: as
(1) : exhibiting biological homology
(2) : having the same or allelic genes with genetic loci usually arranged in the same order homologous chromosomes
b : belonging to or consisting of a chemical series whose members exhibit homology
2a : derived from or involving organisms of the same species homologous tissue grafts — compare autologous, heterologous sense 1
b : relating to or being immunity or a serum produced by or containing a specific antibody corresponding to a specific antigen

Other Words from homologous

homologously \ -​lē How to pronounce homologous (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on homologous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for homologous

Nglish: Translation of homologous for Spanish Speakers

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