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Definition

Differences in the germline DNA of an individual.

Use in clinical context

During fertilisation genomic variation from both parents is combined to create a unique individual. The germline cells established early in development will possess unique combinations of variants which can be passed on to future generations.

Germline variation is passed onto subsequent generations through the production of gametes and the fusing of these gametes at fertilisation. As variation from both parents’ germlines is combined at fertilisation, the offspring’s DNA varies from their parents. This process continually creates new variation in the population, which is passed on through the germline.

Related terms

Fertilisation | Germline | Variant

Last updated on 29th May, 2019