Genetics Terminology - A Glossary (27 Words)

  1. haploid- the condition of having only one set of chromosomes per cell (n)
  2. diploid- the condition of having two sets of chromosomes per cell (2n)
  3. gamete- a haploid (n) sex cell in plants and animals (egg or sperm)
  4. zygote- diploid (2n) cell resulting from the union of two gametes in sexual reproduction
  5. chromatin- the complex of DNA, RNA and proteins that makes up uncondensed eukaryotic chromosomes.
  6. chromosome- structures within the nucleus of eukaryotic cells composed of chromatin and visible at cell division (condensed chromatin).
  7. homologous chromosomes -chromosomes that are similar in morphology (shape and form) and genetic constitution. In animals one set comes from the father and the other from the mother.
  8. chromatids- one of the two halves of a duplicated chromosome
  9. centromeres- specialized constricted region of a chromatid, that contains the kinetochore; sister chromatids are joined at the centromere during cell division
  10. recombination- exchange of genetic material between chromosomes
  11. crossover- the breaking and rejoining of homologous (non-sister) chromatids during early prophase I of meiosis, resulting in recombination
  12. synapsis- the pairing of homologous chromosomes during prophase I of meiosis.
  13. disjunction- separation of homologous chromosomes (or sister chromatids) during anaphase.
  14. genotype- the genetic make-up (the assemblage of alleles) of an individual.
  15. phenotype- the physical or chemical expression of an organism�s genes.
  16. gene- a discrete unit of hereditary information that usually specifies a protein; a region of DNA (locus) located on a chromosome that specifies a trait (characteristic).
  17. 17.alleles- genes governing variations of the same characteristic (trait) that occupy corresponding positions (loci) on homologous chromosomes; alternative forms of a gene.
  18. dominant allele- an allele that is always expressed when present, regardless of whether the organism is homozygous or heterozygous for that gene.
  19. recessive allele- an allele that is only expressed when the organism is homozygous for that allele and not expressed when heterozygous (when paired with a dominant allele).
  20. homozygous- possessing a pair of identical alleles for a particular locus (gene).
  21. heterozygous- possessing a pair of unlike alleles for a particular locus (gene).
  22. carrier- a heterozygous individual not expressing a recessive trait but capable of passing it on to its offspring.
  23. parent generation (P) -the generation that supplies gametes to the filial generation.
  24. filial generation (F,) -the generation that receives gametes from the parental generation.
  25. hybrid- an offspring resulting from the mating between individuals of two different genetic constitutions.
  26. dihybrid cross- a genetic cross that takes into account the effect of alleles at two separate loci (two different genes).
  27. monohybrid cross- a genetic cross that takes into account the effect of alleles at a single locus (single gene).


  1. Haploid: Imagine a single (hap) happy face ('Haploid' sounds like 'hap happy') on a cell, symbolizing a cell with one set of chromosomes.
  2. Diploid: Picture a dip container with a double lid ('Diploid' sounds like 'dip, double'), representing a cell with two sets of chromosomes.
  3. Gamete: Visualize a game ticket ('Gamete' sounds like 'game ticket') with a single number on it, symbolizing a haploid sex cell in sexual reproduction.
  4. Zygote: Imagine a zipper ('Zygote' sounds like 'zipper') joining two halves of a garment, representing the union of two gametes to form a diploid cell.
  5. Chromatin: Picture chrome knitting needles ('Chromatin' sounds like 'chrome knitting') tangled with colorful yarn (DNA, RNA, proteins), representing the complex makeup of uncondensed chromosomes.
  6. Chromosome: Visualize a chrome sewing machine ('Chromosome' sounds like 'chrome sew') stitching a visible pattern, symbolizing the condensed chromatin visible during cell division.
  7. Homologous Chromosomes: Imagine a pair of home logs ('Homologous' sounds like 'home logs') that look similar but come from different trees, symbolizing chromosomes that are similar in shape and genetic constitution.
  8. Chromatids: Picture a chrome tadpole ('Chromatid' sounds like 'chrome tadpole') split in half, each half representing one part of a duplicated chromosome.
  9. Centromeres: Envision a center mirror ('Centromere' sounds like 'center mirror') with a constricted frame, symbolizing the constricted region of a chromatid.
  10. Recombination: Visualize a combination lock ('Recombination' sounds like 'combination') being reset to exchange its code, symbolizing the exchange of genetic material.
  11. Crossover: Imagine a cross over a road ('Crossover' sounds like 'cross, over') where paths break and rejoin, symbolizing the breaking and rejoining of chromatids.
  12. Synapsis: Picture a cinema nap scene ('Synapsis' sounds like 'cinema nap'), where two movie characters pair up, symbolizing the pairing of homologous chromosomes.
  13. Disjunction: Visualize a disjointed junction ('Disjunction' sounds like 'disjointed junction'), where paths separate, representing the separation of chromosomes or chromatids.
  14. Genotype: Imagine a gene typing machine ('Genotype' sounds like 'gene typing'), typing out a genetic makeup, symbolizing the genetic makeup of an individual.
  15. Phenotype: Picture a phone type ('Phenotype' sounds like 'phone type') with various features, representing the physical expression of an organism’s genes.
  16. Gene: Visualize a pair of jeans ('Gene' sounds like 'jeans') with a unique design, symbolizing a discrete unit of hereditary information.
  17. Alleles: Imagine a hallway of leaves ('Alleles' sounds like 'hall leaves'), each leaf representing a variation of a trait, symbolizing different forms of a gene.
  18. Dominant Allele: Picture a domineering owl ('Dominant' sounds like 'domineering owl') always standing out, representing an allele that always expresses itself.
  19. Recessive Allele: Visualize a recess area ('Recessive' sounds like 'recess') only visible when alone, symbolizing an allele expressed only in homozygous form.
  20. Homozygous: Imagine a homely zoo ('Homozygous' sounds like 'homely zoo') where all animals are identical, symbolizing possession of identical alleles.
  21. Heterozygous (Unlike alleles): Picture a zebra ('Hetero' sounding like 'Zebra') with stripes of different colors, representing the concept of having two different alleles at a particular gene locus.
  22. Carrier (Recessive trait carrier): Imagine a carrier pigeon ('Carrier' sounding like 'Carrier Pigeon') holding a hidden message in a backpack, symbolizing the unseen recessive trait that can be passed to offspring.
  23. Parent Generation (P) (Gamete supplier): Visualize a pair of trees ('Parent' sounding like 'Pair of Trees'), with fruits representing gametes, illustrating the role of the parent generation in supplying genetic material to the next generation.
  24. Filial Generation (F1) (Gamete receiver): Think of a file ('Filial' sounding like 'File') being transferred from one computer to another, representing the transfer of genetic material from the parent to the filial generation.
  25. Hybrid (Genetic mixture offspring): Picture a mythical creature, like a griffin ('Hybrid' sounding like 'Hybrid Creature'), combining features of different animals, symbolizing the offspring of two genetically different individuals.
  26. Dihybrid Cross (Two-gene consideration): Envision two hybrid cars ('Di-hybrid' sounding like 'Two Hybrid Cars') crossing paths at an intersection, each car representing a different gene locus.
  27. Monohybrid Cross (Single-gene consideration): Imagine a monk ('Mono' sounding like 'Monk') carefully studying a single flower, representing the focus on a single gene locus in a monohybrid cross.