ol·​i·​go·​nu·​cle·​o·​tide | \ ə-ˌli-gə-ˈnü-klē-ə-ˌtīd How to pronounce oligonucleotide (audio) , -ˈnyü- \

Definition of oligonucleotide

: a short nucleic-acid chain usually consisting of up to approximately 20 nucleotides

Examples of oligonucleotide in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Free oligonucleotides did not cross the cell membrane. Scientific American, "The Power of Spheres," 25 Dec. 2019 But one patient advocacy group has publicly shared that Yu’s team has designed an oligonucleotide for a toddler with ataxia-telangiectasia, a neurodegenerative disorder, and hoped to begin to treat her this fall. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "Drug tailored to one girl with brain disease paves way for similar customized treatments," 9 Oct. 2019 Krainer is co-founder of Stoke Therapeutics, a company focused on treating severe genetic disease using antisense oligonucleotides. Bret Stetka, Scientific American, "Antisense Drugs for Huntington’s, ALS and Prion Diseases Could Meet the Dire Need for Brain Treatments," 15 Aug. 2019 Scientists can now use molecules called antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) to modify this process by binding to RNA and altering translation. Bret Stetka, Scientific American, "Antisense Drugs for Huntington’s, ALS and Prion Diseases Could Meet the Dire Need for Brain Treatments," 15 Aug. 2019 The traditional approach takes DNA nucleotides—the chemical letters A, G, C, and T—and adds them, one by one, to a growing chain called an oligonucleotide, or oligo. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "New technique could help scientists create a gene in just 1 day," 18 June 2018 An alternative treatment, drugs based on chemicals known as antisense oligonucleotides, is in clinical trials. Nicholas Wade, New York Times, "Gene Editing Offers Hope for Treating Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Studies Find," 31 Dec. 2015 Upon receipt, the sequence is run through biosafety and biosecurity checks, and ultimately constructed through the enzymatic assembly of shorter oligonucleotide chains. Jeffrey Marlow, WIRED, "Mobilizing the Planet’s Genetic Diversity with Synthetic Biology," 31 Mar. 2015

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

1942, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for oligonucleotide

Time Traveler

The first known use of oligonucleotide was in 1942

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Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oligonucleotide.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oligonucleotide. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for oligonucleotide


oli·​go·​nu·​cle·​o·​tide | \ -ˈn(y)ü-klē-ə-ˌtīd How to pronounce oligonucleotide (audio) \

Medical Definition of oligonucleotide

: a relatively short single-stranded nucleic-acid chain (as an oligodeoxynucleotide or oligoribonucleotide) usually consisting of up to approximately 20 nucleotides

More from Merriam-Webster on oligonucleotide

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oligonucleotide

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out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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