NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms contains technical definitions for more than 200 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.

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germline variant
(JERM-line VAYR-ee-unt)
A gene change in a reproductive cell (egg or sperm) that becomes incorporated into the DNA of every cell in the body of the offspring. A variant contained within the germline can be passed from parent to offspring, and is, therefore, hereditary.