An allele is one of two or more versions of a gene. An individual inherits two alleles for each gene, one from each parent. If the two alleles are the same, the individual is homozygous for that gene. If the alleles are different, the individual is heterozygous. Though the term allele was originally used to describe variation among genes, it now also refers to variation among non-coding DNA sequences.
"Allele" is the word that we use to describe the alternative form or versions of a gene. People inherit one allele for each autosomal gene from each parent, and we tend to lump the alleles into categories. Typically, we call them either normal or wild-type alleles, or abnormal, or mutant alleles.- Leslie G. Biesecker, M.D.