Genetics - High School

Dive into the gene pool and review this list of terms related to genetics. You'll learn all about DNA, heredity, chromosomes, and more.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. adenine
    purine base found in DNA and RNA
  2. allele
    any of the forms of a gene that can occupy the same locus
  3. asexual reproduction
    reproduction without the fusion of gametes
  4. autosome
    any chromosome that is not a sex chromosome
  5. base
    a phosphoric ester of a nucleoside
  6. base pair
    one of the pairs of chemical bases joined by hydrogen bonds that connect the complementary strands of a DNA molecule or of an RNA molecule that has two strands; the base pairs are adenine with thymine and guanine with cytosine in DNA and adenine with uracil and guanine with cytosine in RNA
  7. carrier
    organism with a recessive gene masked by a dominant allele
  8. cell
    the basic structural and functional unit of all organisms
  9. cell division
    the process in reproduction and growth by which a cell divides to form daughter cells
  10. chromatid
    one of two identical strands into which a chromosome splits during mitosis
  11. chromatin
    the readily stainable substance of a cell nucleus consisting of DNA and RNA and various proteins; during mitotic division it condenses into chromosomes
  12. chromosomal mutation
    any event that changes genetic structure
  13. chromosome
    a threadlike strand of DNA that carries genes
  14. clone
    a genetically identical organism derived from a single cell
  15. codon
    a specific sequence of three adjacent nucleotides on a strand of DNA or RNA that specifies the genetic code information for synthesizing a particular amino acid
  16. cross-fertilization
    fertilization by the union of male and female gametes from different individual of the same species
  17. crossing over
    the interchange of sections between pairing homologous chromosomes during the prophase of meiosis
  18. cross-pollination
    fertilization by transfer of pollen from the anthers of one flower to the stigma of another
  19. cytosine
    a base found in DNA and RNA and derived from pyrimidine
  20. daughter cell
    a cell formed by the division or budding of another cell
  21. deletion
    (genetics) the loss or absence of one or more nucleotides from a chromosome
  22. dihybrid
    a hybrid produced by parents that differ only at two gene loci that have two alleles each
  23. diploid
    an organism or cell having the normal amount of DNA per cell
  24. DNA
    a long linear polymer found in the nucleus of a cell
  25. DNA fingerprint
    biometric identification obtained by examining a person's unique sequence of DNA base pairs; often used for evidence in criminal law cases
  26. DNA polymerase
    the enzyme responsible for DNA replication
  27. dominant
    an allele that produces the same phenotype
  28. dominant allele
    an allele that produces the same phenotype whether its paired allele is identical or different
  29. double helix
    a pair of parallel helices intertwined about a common axis
  30. enzyme
    a complex protein produced by cells that acts as a catalyst
  31. exon
    sequence of a gene's DNA that transcribes into protein structures
  32. Francis Crick
    English biochemist who (with Watson in 1953) helped discover the helical structure of DNA (1916-2004)
  33. gamete
    a mature sexual reproductive cell
  34. gene
    part of DNA controlling physical characteristics and growth
  35. gene expression
    conversion of the information encoded in a gene first into messenger RNA and then to a protein
  36. genetic disorder
    a disease or disorder that is inherited genetically
  37. genetic engineering
    the technology of preparing recombinant DNA in vitro by cutting up DNA molecules and splicing together fragments from more than one organism
  38. geneticist
    a biologist who specializes in genetics
  39. genetics
    the study of heredity and variation in organisms
  40. genome
    the full DNA sequence of an organism
  41. genomics
    the branch of genetics that studies organisms in terms of their genomes (their full DNA sequences)
  42. genotype
    the alleles at specified loci present in an organism
  43. Gregor Mendel
    Augustinian monk and botanist whose experiments in breeding garden peas led to his eventual recognition as founder of the science of genetics (1822-1884)
  44. guanine
    a purine base found in DNA and RNA; pairs with cytosine
  45. haploid
    (genetics) an organism or cell having only one complete set of chromosomes
  46. heredity
    the transmission of genetic factors to the next generation
  47. heterozygous
    having dissimilar alleles at corresponding chromosomal loci
  48. homologous
    similar in position, structure, function, or characteristics
  49. homozygous
    having identical alleles at corresponding chromosomal loci
  50. hybrid
    the offspring of genetically dissimilar parents or stock
  51. inherited
    occurring among members of a family usually by heredity
  52. intron
    sequence of a eukaryotic gene's DNA that is not translated into a protein
  53. inversion
    a kind of mutation in which the order of genes is reversed
  54. James Watson
    United States geneticist who (with Crick in 1953) helped discover the helical structure of DNA (born in 1928)
  55. karyotype
    the appearance of the chromosomal makeup of a somatic cell in an individual or species (including the number and arrangement and size and structure of the chromosomes)
  56. law of independent assortment
    each member of a pair of homologous chromosomes separates independently of the members of other pairs so the results are random
  57. law of segregation
    members of a pair of homologous chromosomes separate during the formation of gametes and are distributed to different gametes so that every gamete receives only one member of the pair
  58. linked genes
    any pair of genes that tend to be transmitted together
  59. meiosis
    cell division in sexually reproducing organisms
  60. messenger RNA
    the template for protein synthesis
  61. mitosis
    the process by which a cell divides into two smaller cells
  62. monohybrid
    a hybrid produced by crossing parents that are homozygous except for a single gene locus that has two alleles (as in Mendel's experiments with garden peas)
  63. mutation
    any event that changes genetic structure
  64. nondisjunction
    meiosis in which there is a failure of paired homologous chromosomes to separate; results in an abnormal number of chromosomes in the daughter cells
  65. nucleotide
    a phosphoric ester of a nucleoside
  66. nucleus
    a part of the cell responsible for growth and reproduction
  67. offspring
    the immediate descendants of a person or organism
  68. pedigree
    the ancestry or lineage of an individual
  69. phenotype
    what an organism looks like
  70. plasmid
    a small cellular inclusion consisting of a ring of DNA that is not in a chromosome but is capable of autonomous replication
  71. polygenic
    of or relating to an inheritable character that is controlled by several genes at once; of or related to or determined by polygenes
  72. polyploid
    of a cell or organism having more than twice the haploid number of chromosomes
  73. polyploidy
    the condition of being polyploid
  74. probability
    a measure of how likely it is that some event will occur
  75. protein
    an organic compound essential to living cells
  76. purebred
    bred for many generations from member of a recognized breed or strain
  77. recessive
    of a gene that produces a feature if present in both parents
  78. recessive allele
    an allele that produces its characteristic phenotype only when its paired allele is identical
  79. recombinant DNA
    genetically engineered DNA made by recombining fragments of DNA from different organisms
  80. replication
    the process whereby DNA makes a copy of itself
  81. restriction enzyme
    any of the enzymes that cut nucleic acid at specific restriction sites and produce restriction fragments; obtained from bacteria (where they cripple viral invaders); used in recombinant DNA technology
  82. RNA
    (biochemistry) a long linear polymer of nucleotides found in the nucleus but mainly in the cytoplasm of a cell where it is associated with microsomes; it transmits genetic information from DNA to the cytoplasm and controls certain chemical processes in the cell
  83. RNA polymerase
    the enzyme that copies DNA into RNA
  84. self-pollination
    fertilization by transfer of pollen from the anthers to the stigma of the same flower
  85. sex cell
    a spermatozoon or an ovum
  86. sex chromosome
    a chromosome that determines the sex of an individual
  87. sex-linked
    concerning characteristics that are determined by genes carried on the sex chromosomes (on the X chromosome in particular)
  88. sexual reproduction
    reproduction involving the union or fusion of a male and a female gamete
  89. somatic cell
    a cell that does not participate in reproduction
  90. substitution
    an event in which one thing is replaced by another
  91. thymine
    a base found in DNA and derived from pyrimidine
  92. trait
    a distinguishing feature of your personal nature
  93. transcription
    process whereby a gene's DNA sequence is copied into mRNA
  94. transfer RNA
    RNA molecules present in the cell (in at least 20 varieties, each variety capable of combining with a specific amino acid) that attach the correct amino acid to the protein chain that is being synthesized at the ribosome of the cell (according to directions coded in the mRNA)
  95. translation
    when genetic information directs the formation of a protein
  96. translocation
    (genetics) an exchange of chromosome parts
  97. transposition
    (genetics) a kind of mutation in which a chromosomal segment is transfered to a new position on the same or another chromosome
  98. trisomy
    chrosomal abnormality in which there is one more than the normal number of chromosomes in a cell
  99. uracil
    a base containing nitrogen that is found in RNA (but not in DNA) and derived from pyrimidine; pairs with adenine
  100. X chromosome
    the sex chromosome that is present in both sexes: singly in males and doubly in females
  101. Y chromosome
    the sex chromosome that is carried by men
  102. zygote
    the cell from the union of a haploid spermatozoon and ovum
Created on February 7, 2017 (updated April 5, 2017)

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