NHGRI logo

Talking Glossary of Genomic and Genetic Terms

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) developed the Talking Glossary of Genomic and Genetic Terms to help users understand basic concepts in genomics and genetics.

NHGRI researchers, science educators and genetic counselors have reviewed each term and its definition for clarity and accuracy. Many terms have associated illustrations and animations to provide further explanation; these visuals are available for download for use in teaching and presentations.

Each term has a linked audio recording of the definition and a personal narrative given by an NHGRI genomics professional; there is also a Spanish recording of the definition.

A previous version of this resource, called the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms, included entries that used obsolete and antiquated language. We have worked closely with NHGRI researchers, community members and other experts to ensure that this new version is informative, inclusive and reflective of the lived experience of persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups. To learn more about these topics, please refer to our fact sheet on scientific racism and eugenics, our timeline on the history of eugenics, and symposium on past and present manifestations of eugenics and scientific racism.

This updated version of the Talking Glossary of Genomic and Genetic Terms was made possible through the skills, expertise, advice and contributions from the following individuals. The glossary is also a living resource – we welcome suggestions for additional terms and revisions of the current definitions through the submission form below.


Project Leadership/Scientific Advisors:
Eric Green
Lawrence Brody

Project Management/Writing/Editing:
Sarah Bates
Mary Beth Gardiner
Jill Thomas
Britny Kish

Darryl Leja
Ernesto del Aguila
Harry Wedel

Graphic Design/Programming:
Radwanullah Kakar
Ellaha Sadat
Mukul Nerurkar

Audio Recording:
Alvaro Encinas

Subject Matter Review and/or Narration:
Adam Politis
Alyssa Jones
Amalia Dutra
Belen Hurle
Ben Berkman
Ben Solomon
Caralynn Wilczewski
Carolyn Hutter
Charles Rotimi
Charles Venditti
Chris Gunter
Christopher Donohue
Dan Gilchrist
Daphne Bell
David Adams
Ebony Madden
Elaine Ostrander
Ellen Sidransky
Eric Green
Julie Sapp
Julie Segre
Jyoti Dayal
Kris Wetterstrand
Les Biesecker
Lisa Chadwick
Lori Erby
Lucia Hindorff
Megan Cho
Mike Rembis
Neil Hanchard
Oleg Shchelochkov
Paul Liu
Prabarna Ganguly
Sara Hull
Shurjo Sen
Stephanie Morris
Teri Manolio
Valentina Di Francesco
Vence Bonham

Last updated: August 22, 2022