Skip Navigation
Genetics Home Reference: your guide to understanding genetic conditions About   Site Map   Contact Us
 
Home A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine®
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q-R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y-Z

Oncogene

Synonym(s)

  • cancer-promoting genes
  • transforming genes

Definition(s)

A gene that normally directs cell growth. If altered, an oncogene can promote or allow the uncontrolled growth of cancer. Alterations can be inherited or caused by an environmental exposure to carcinogens.

Definition from: Physician Data Query via Unified Medical Language SystemThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference. at the National Library of Medicine

A gene, one or more forms of which is associated with cancer. Many oncogenes are involved, directly or indirectly, in controlling the rate of cell growth.

Definition from: Human Genome Project InformationThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference. at the U.S. Department of Energy

A gene having the potential to cause a normal cell to become cancerous.

Definition from: Merriam-Webster's Medical DictionaryThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference. by Merriam-Webster Inc.

An oncogene is a mutated gene that contributes to the development of a cancer. In their normal, unmutated state, onocgenes are called proto-oncogenes, and they play roles in the regulation of cell division. Some oncogenes work like putting your foot down on the accelerator of a car, pushing a cell to divide. Other oncogenes work like removing your foot from the brake while parked on a hill, also causing the cell to divide.

Definition from: Talking Glossary of Genetic TermsThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference. from the National Human Genome Research Institute

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

 
Published: August 18, 2014