Germ: 1. A cell or group of cells (called a primordium) capable of developing into an organ, a part or an organism in its entirety. Eggs and sperm are germ cells.
2. A pathogenic a microorganism. A microbe capable of causing disease. The germ theory of disease held, correctly, that these minute bodies can cause disease.
3. The figurative source or wellspring. Dr. Watson told Holmes he had the germ of an idea.
Germ is a deceptively simple word that came to us from Latin germen, meaning a sprout, bud, or offshoot. In all of its meanings, the term germ retains the idea of developing into something more mature.
- Germ cell
Germ cell: Either the egg or the sperm cell; a reproductive cell. Each mature germ cell is haploid, meaning that it has a single set of 23 chromosomes containing half the usual amount of DNA and half the usual number of genes. Except for the egg and the sperm, most cells in the human body […]
- Germ cell tumor
Germ cell tumor: A tumor that arises from a germ cell. A germ cell tumor may arise within the gonads (in the ovary or testis). Most testicular tumors, in fact, are germ cell tumors. Germ cell tumors also may arise in extragonadal sites, reflecting the fact that germ cells travel to diverse areas of the […]
- Germ line
Germ line: 1. The sequence of cells which develop into eggs and sperm. 2. Inherited material that comes from the eggs or sperm and is passed on to offspring.
- German disease
German disease: Syphilis. Depending upon someone’s thoughts as to where the disease came from, syphilis was also known as the French, Italian, Spanish and Polish disease.
- German measles (historical note)
German measles (historical note): In 1941 N. M. Gregg, an Australian ophthalmologist, recognized that infection of the mother with German measles (rubella) during early pregnancy could malform an embryo and cause a characteristic syndrome of congenital malformations. The first feature Dr. Greeg noticed was cataracts. Gregg published his pioneering observations in 1942. Rapid progress in […]