the basic physical unit of heredity; a linear sequence of nucleotides along a segment of DNA that provides the coded instructions for synthesis of RNA, which, when translated into protein, leads to the expression of hereditary character.

1911; < German Gen (1909), apparently abstracted from -gen -gen; introduced by Danish geneticist Wilhelm L. Johannsen (1857–1927)

genes, jeans. Unabridged


a male given name, form of Eugene.


Ellsworth, born 1923, U.S. painter and sculptor.
Emmett (Leo) 1898–1979, U.S. circus clown and pantomimist.
Eugene Curran [kur-uhn, kuhr-] , ("Gene") 1912–96, U.S. dancer, choreographer, actor, and director.
George (Edward) 1887–1974, U.S. playwright and actor.
Grace Patricia (Princess grace of Monaco) 1929–82, U.S. actress: married Prince Rainier III of Monaco 1956.
Walt, 1913–73, U.S. cartoonist.
Also, Kellie. a male or female given name.


James Joseph ("Gene") 1898–1978, U.S. boxer: world heavyweight champion 1926–28. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To gene
World English Dictionary
gene (dʒiːn)
See also operon a unit of heredity composed of DNA occupying a fixed position on a chromosome (some viral genes are composed of RNA). A gene may determine a characteristic of an individual by specifying a polypeptide chain that forms a protein or part of a protein (structural gene); or encode an RNA molecule; or regulate the operation of other genes or repress such operation
[C20: from German Gen, shortened from Pangen; see pan-, -gen]

Kelly (ˈkɛlɪ)
1.  Gene, full name Eugene Curran Kelly. 1912--96, US dancer, choreographer, film actor, and director. His many films include An American in Paris (1951) and Singin' in the Rain (1952)
2.  Grace. 1929--82, US film actress. Her films included High Noon (1952) and High Society (1956). She married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956 and died following a car crash
3.  Ned. 1855--80, Australian horse and cattle thief and bushranger, active in Victoria: captured by the police and hanged
4.  game as Ned Kelly, as game as Ned Kelly See game

Tunney (ˈtʌnɪ)
Gene, original name James Joseph Tunney. 1897--1978, US boxer; world heavyweight champion (1926--28)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

common Irish surname, from O.Ir. ceallach "war." As a type of pool played with 15 balls, it is attested from 1898. Kelly green first recorded 1936.

1911, from Ger. Gen, coined 1905 by Dan. scientist Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen (1857-1927), from Gk. genea "generation, race" (see genus). De Vries had earlier called them pangenes.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

gene (jēn)
A hereditary unit that occupies a specific location on a chromosome, determines a particular characteristic in an organism by directing the formation of a specific protein, and is capable of replicating itself at each cell division.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
gene  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (jēn)  Pronunciation Key 
A segment of DNA, occupying a specific place on a chromosome, that is the basic unit of heredity. Genes act by directing the production of RNA, which determines the synthesis of proteins that make up living matter and are the catalysts of all cellular processes. The proteins that are determined by genetic DNA result in specific physical traits, such as the shape of a plant leaf, the coloration of an animal's coat, or the texture of a person's hair. Different forms of genes, called alleles, determine how these traits are expressed in a given individual. Humans are thought to have about 35,000 genes, while bacteria have between 500 and 6,000. See also dominant, recessive. See Note at Mendel.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

gene definition

A portion of a DNA molecule that serves as the basic unit of heredity. Genes control the characteristics that an offspring will have by transmitting information in the sequence of nucleotides on short sections of DNA.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences for gene
The unusual cream color of their coats is due to a recessive gene.
The technique, using genetic engineering, fuses the gene of interest to the
  gene of gfp.
But instead of making the normal protein, the gene makes gfp.
The fluorescence shows where the gene of interest is expressed.
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