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Generic DNA

​Candidate Gene

updated: July 14, 2024


The term candidate gene refers to a gene that is believed to be related to a particular trait, such as a disease or a physical attribute. Because of its genomic location or its known function, the gene is suspected to play a role in that trait, thus making it a candidate for additional study.


Candidate Gene. The more you know about a trait the better job you can do selecting a candidate gene for further study. For instance, if you're studying the genetics of body size, genes that control bone growth, lipid processing, and insulin growth factors are all excellent candidate genes.

Elaine Ostrander
Elaine A. Ostrander, Ph.D.

Chief & NIH Distinguished Investigator

Cancer Genetics and Comparative Genomics Branch