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Definition

Genetically identical.

Use in clinical context

When cells divide by mitosis two genetically identical, therefore clonal, daughter cells are produced. Cells in a person’s body are usually clonal and populations of bacteria and viruses are also often clonal. When genomic variants arise within a cell lineage or populations of bacteria or viruses, these are no longer clonal. However, if those cells then divide a new clonal population will be created. Cancer cells can be classed as clonal. Identification of variants within a population of cancer cells can inform the diagnosis, prognosis or treatment of the disease.

Last updated on 24th May, 2019