Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Lethal Gene

Mutant allele that is incompatible with life and that causes the death of an organism at some time between conception and maturity. Lethals are usually effective only in the homozygous state (or hemizygous, if X-linked). In reference to humans, initial expression of the gene before the age of one year is also stipulated by some researchers.

See genetic load.

Cf. sublethal gene, semilethal gene.

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