Share this entry
pleiotropy Line breaks: plei|otropy
Pronunciation: /plʌɪˈɒtrəpi/

Definition of pleiotropy in English:


[mass noun] Genetics
The production by a single gene of two or more apparently unrelated effects.
Example sentences
  • If gene effects on the trait and fitness are correlated due to pleiotropy, genes of large effect on the trait will remain at much lower frequencies.
  • At the level of populations, the scaling of mutational effects with pleiotropy can be addressed via the neutral theory of molecular evolution.
  • These studies demonstrated that performance and preference of host-plant use may be genetically associated by linkage or pleiotropy, and evolve as correlated traits.


Pronunciation: /plʌɪəˈtrəʊpɪk/ /plʌɪəˈtrɒpɪk/
Example sentences
  • Similarly, mutations within the Drosophila CBP homolog have wide-ranging pleiotropic phenotypes.
  • Many semidwarf mutants have pleiotropic effects on traits other than culm length.
  • Many mutants died or showed pleiotropic defects casting doubt on the specificity of their retinal phenotype and were not included in this report.
Example sentences
  • If the majority of mutations have large negative impacts on fitness, pleiotropism will act to increase their selective effects in nature.
  • Pleiotropism is a hallmark of cytokines and growth factors; yet, the underlying mechanisms are not clearly understood.
  • The gene exhibited pleiotropism by influencing not only oleate and linoleate, but also levels of palmitate, gadoleate, and total saturated fatty acids.


1930s: from Greek pleiōn 'more' + tropē 'turning'.

Definition of pleiotropy in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources