<< Back to glossary index


Differences between the germline DNA sequences of individuals.

Use in clinical context

Germline variation results from individuals inheriting different combinations of germline variants from their parents. These variants will be present in all cells and can be passed on to the individual’s children. This is in contrast to somatic variation, which accumulates over an individual’s lifetime and (unless it occurs in the germline cells) cannot be passed on.

Germline variation contributes to the differences between individuals, from their appearance to their health – and even how they may respond to a particular medication.

Related terms

Fertilisation | Germline | Variant

Last updated on 21st September, 2021