NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms

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Welcome to the NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms, which contains technical definitions for more than 150 terms related to genetics. These definitions were developed by the PDQ® Cancer Genetics Editorial Board to support the evidence-based, peer-reviewed PDQ cancer genetics information summaries.

trinucleotide repeat
(try-NOO-klee-oh-tide reh-PEET)
Sequences of 3 nucleotides repeated in tandem on the same contiguous section of chromosome. A certain amount of normal (polymorphic) variation in repeat number with no clinical significance commonly occurs between individuals; however, repeat numbers over a certain threshold can, in some cases, lead to adverse effects on the function of the gene, resulting in genetic disease.