An attribute in individuals that is amenable to formal and logical analysis and may be used as the basis of generalizations about classes and other statements that transcend individuality. SYN: characteristic (1). [G. charakter, stamp, mark, fr. charasso, to engrave]
- acquired c. a c. developed in a plant or animal as a result of environmental influences during the individual's life.
- classifiable c. a c. that allows individuals to be sorted into distinct but not quantitative classes, e.g., blood type s.
- compound c. an inherited c. dependent upon two or more distinct genes.
- denumerable c. classifiable c. that is also countable ( e.g., number of progeny, number of teeth). SYN: discrete c..
- discrete c. SYN: denumerable c..
- dominant c. an inherited c. determined by one kind of allele. See phenotype.
- inherited c. a discrete attribute of an animal or plant that is transmitted at one genetic locus from generation to generation in accordance with Mendel law. See gene. SYN: unit c..
- mendelian c. an inherited c. under the control of a single locus (although perhaps modified by genes at other loci).
- primary sex characters the sex glands, testes or ovaries, and the accessory sex organs.
- recessive c. an inherited c. determined by an allele in homozygous state only. See dominance of traits.
- secondary sex characters those characters peculiar to the male or female that develop at puberty, e.g., men's beards and women's breasts.
- sex-linked c. an inherited c. determined by a gene on a gonosome. See gene.
- unit c. SYN: inherited c..

* * *

char·ac·ter 'kar-ik-tər n
1) one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish the individual
2) the detectable expression of the action of a gene or group of genes
3) the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation

* * *

char·ac·ter (karґak-tər) [Gr. charaktēr an engraved or impressed mark or stamp] 1. a quality or attribute indicative of the nature of an object or organism. 2. in genetics, the expression in the phenotype of a gene or group of genes; see also entries under gene, trait, and inheritance. 3. in psychiatry, a term used, especially in the psychoanalytic literature, in much the same way as personality (q.v.), particularly for those personality traits that are shaped by life experiences and developmental processes. See also temperament.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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