NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms
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.
- listen (band)
- When chromosomes at a particular stage in cell division are stained using one of several laboratory techniques, a specific pattern of light and dark stripes (bands) appears when the chromosomes are viewed through a microscope; the banding pattern assists in assigning each chromosome its particular number and evaluating its structure.
- base pair
- listen (bays payr)
- Two nitrogen-containing bases pair together between double-stranded DNA; only specific combinations of these bases (e.g., adenine with thymine; guanine with cytosine) are possible, a fact which facilitates accurate DNA replication; when quantified (e.g., 8 base pairs, or bp), this term refers to the actual number of base pairs in a sequence of nucleotides.
- listen (BY-uh-LEE-lik)
- Of or pertaining to both alleles of a single gene (paternal and maternal). For example, biallelic mutation carriers have a mutation (not necessarily the same mutation) in both copies of a particular gene (a paternal and a maternal mutation).