meaning of "synthetic lethality"

mlamphier at mlamphier at
Wed Apr 29 13:36:02 EST 1998

I have come across a term in genetics I am
unfamiliar with. In a paper I am looking at the
researchers investigate combinations of mutations
for "synthetic lethality". This term seems to mean
simply that each individual mutation is non-lethal
but the two combined are lethal. Is this a correct
understanding, and what is the meaning of
"synthetic" here?

e.g. from paper: "...we have found synthetic-
lethality when the srt1 mutant allele was placed
in combination with a g-tubulin mutant allele..."

Marc Lamphier

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