Definition of polytene in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpäləˌtēn/


Relating to or denoting a giant chromosome that is composed of many parallel copies of the genetic material, as found in Drosophila fruit flies, where they are much used in genetic research.
Example sentences
  • The structures of rearrangements were defined by mitotic chromosome staining as well as by genetic and polytene chromosome analysis.
  • Anopheline mosquitoes, like Drosophila, are renowned for the presence of polytene chromosomes and chromosomal inversions.
  • It was mapped in Drosophila by polytene chromosome in situ to 3L heterochromatin.


1930s: from poly- 'many' + -tene (from Greek tainia 'band, ribbon') denoting stages of the first meiotic division.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pol·y·tene

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