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.

genetic anticipation
(jeh-NEH-tik an-TIH-sih-PAY-shun)
A phenomenon in which the signs and symptoms of some genetic conditions tend to become more severe and/or appear at an earlier age as the disorder is passed from one generation to the next. Huntington disease is an example of a genetic disorder in which the biological mechanism for this phenomenon has been well documented. In other cases, it may be due to factors such as increased surveillance or other nongenetic causes.