Polygenic trait

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noun, singular: polygenic trait

A trait that is controlled by a group of nonallelic genes.


Polygenic traits are controlled by two or more than two genes (usually by many different genes) at different loci on different chromosomes. These genes are described as polygenes. Examples of human polygenic inheritance are height, skin colour and weight. Polygenes allow a wide range of physical traits. For instance, height is regulated by several genes so that there will be a wide range of heights in a population.

Word origin: poly = many + genic = of genes.
See also: polygene, inheritance, phenotype.

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