noun Genetics.
any gene that is a causative factor in the initiation of cancerous growth.

1965–70; onco- + gene

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World English Dictionary
oncogene (ˈɒŋkəʊˌdʒiːn)
any of several genes, first identified in viruses but present in all cells, that when abnormally activated can cause cancer
[C20 from Gk onkos mass, tumour + gene]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1969, from onco-, from Gk. onkos "bulk, size, mass, body" + -gene.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

oncogene on·co·gene (ŏng'kə-jēn)
A gene that causes the transformation of normal cells into cancerous tumor cells, especially a viral gene that transforms a host cell into a tumor cell.

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
oncogene   (ŏn'kə-jēn)  Pronunciation Key 
A gene that causes normal cells to become cancerous either because the gene is mutated or because the gene is expressed at the wrong time in development. See Note at cancer.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
oncogene [(ong-kuh-jeen)]

Genes in animal DNA that cause cancer.

Note: Every cell contains genes that, when altered slightly, can become oncogenes.
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 oncogenes
Normally, oncogenes are silent, for example, because of dna methylation.
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