Phenocopy

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Related to phenocopies: pleiotropy, genocopy

phenocopy

[¦fēn·ə¦käp·ē]
(genetics)
The nonhereditary alteration of a phenotype to a form imitating a mutant trait; caused by external conditions during development.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Phenocopy

 

a nonhereditary change in a phenotype, induced by specific environmental conditions and mimicking of some known hereditary change, or mutation, as exhibited in the phenotype. For example, nonhereditary teratism, or monstrosities, may be induced in the genetically normal embryos and larvae of some insects by various means, including high temperatures and vaporized ether; examples of such monstrosities, which may be observed in adult individuals, are a change in the number of legs or wings or the transformation of antennae into legs. These monstrosities are phenocopies of similar but hereditary changes that normally develop, in the absence of any external influence, in a number of mutant insect strains.

Phenocopies of various mutuations may be experimentally induced in other species of animals and plants as well. As a rule, the possible range of such phenocopies is not determined by the nature of the operative factor, but rather by the stage of development of the experimental organism. Presumably, some external factor that produces phenocopies in normal individuals interferes with the activity of the corresponding normal genes, resulting in the appearance of a mutant phenotype. The study of phenocopies is thus an important field of inquiry for phenogenetic research.

REFERENCES

Lobashev, M. E. Genetika. Leningrad, 1967.
Goldschmidt, R. B. Physiological Genetics. New York, 1938.

V. I. IVANOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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