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Definition of Recessive

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Recessive: A condition that appears only in individuals who have received two copies of a mutant gene, one copy from each parent. The individuals with a double dose of the mutated gene are called homozygotes. Their parents, each with a single dose of the mutated gene, appear normal and are called heterozygotes, or gene carriers.

There are two types of recessive diseases -- autosomal recessive and X-linked recessive -- that describe different patterns of inheritance.

The opposite of recessive is dominant. See also Autosomal recessive; Dominant; and X-linked recessive.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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