The single gene controlling or influencing multiple (and possibly unrelated) phenotypic traits.


Mutation in this type of gene will simultaneously affect more than one trait. An example is phenylketonuria, a human disease caused by mutation(s) in a single gene that codes for the enzyme, phenylalanine hydroxylase. The disease is characterized by mental retardation and reduced hair and skin pigmentation.

Word origin: Greek pleio, meaning "many", and trepein, meaning "influencing".

Related forms: pleiotropic (adjective).

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