meaning of 'synthetic lethality'

mlamphier at mlamphier at
Wed Apr 29 14:32:36 EST 1998

I have come across a term in yeast 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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