[ ong-kuh-jeen ]
/ ˈɒŋ kəˌdʒin /

noun Genetics.

any gene that is a causative factor in the initiation of cancerous growth.

Nearby words

  1. oncocytic hepatocellular tumor,
  2. oncocytoma,
  3. oncofetal,
  4. oncofetal antigen,
  5. oncofetal marker,
  6. oncogenesis,
  7. oncogenetic,
  8. oncogenic,
  9. oncogenic virus,
  10. oncogenicity

Origin of oncogene

First recorded in 1965–70; onco- + gene

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for oncogene


/ (ˈɒŋkəʊˌdʒiːn) /


any of several genes, first identified in viruses but present in all cells, that when abnormally activated can cause cancer

Word Origin for oncogene

C20 from Gk onkos mass, tumour + gene

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for oncogene



1969, from onco- + -gene, from root of Greek gignere (perf. genui) "beget," from PIE *gen- "produce" (see genus). Related: Oncogenesis (1832).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for oncogene


[ ŏngkə-jēn ]


A gene that causes the transformation of normal cells into cancerous tumor cells, especially a viral gene that transforms a host cell into a tumor cell.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for oncogene


[ ŏnkə-jēn ]

A gene that causes normal cells to become cancerous either because the gene is mutated or because the gene is expressed at the wrong time in development. See Note at cancer.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for oncogene


[ (ong-kuh-jeen) ]

Genes in animal DNA that cause cancer.


Every cell contains genes that, when altered slightly, can become oncogenes.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.