Medical Definition of Trait, dominant lethal

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

Trait, dominant lethal: A genetic trait that, if present in the genome of the individual, is expressed and therefore precludes the individual's having descendants. All such cases with a dominant lethal trait must necessarily be sporadic and must represent new mutations, not inherited ones because a potential parent with the trait would die and not be able to pass it along.

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Reviewed on 9/7/2018