Medical Definition of Compound heterozygote

  • 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.

Compound heterozygote: The presence of two different mutant alleles at a particular gene locus, one on each chromosome of a pair.

The human genome contains two copies of each gene, a paternal and a maternal allele. A mutation affecting only one allele is called heterozygous. A homozygous mutation is the presence of the identical mutation on both alleles of a specific gene. However, when both alleles of a gene harbor mutations, but the mutations are different, these mutations are called compound heterozygous. Also called a genetic compound.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/25/2017

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