meaning of "synthetic lethality"
Michael Dorsett Onken
mdonken at artsci.wustl.edu
Thu Apr 30 09:38:17 EST 1998
John S Jacobs Anderson (jacobs at azstarnet.com) wrote:
: In article <6i7oe2$7d8$1 at nnrp1.dejanews.com>, marc_lamphier at eri.eisai.com wrote:
: >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?
: You've got it -- synthetic lethality is when you have two non-lethal
: mutations that cause death when combined.
: I think the 'synthesis' is used in the sense of 'production' -- i.e.,
: death is produced when the mutations are combined.
Actually, 'synthesis' is defined as 'the combination of two or more
elements to form a whole' in the dictionary. This applies to chemical
synthesis: combining simpler molecules to form a complex molecule. And
remember the Hegelian dialectic where Thesis and Antithesis are combined
to form a Synthesis. I think synthetic is actually being used
correctly... for once.
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