Definition of cistron in English:


Pronunciation /ˈsisträn/ /ˈsɪstrɑn/

See synonyms for cistron on


  • A section of a DNA or RNA molecule that codes for a specific polypeptide in protein synthesis.

    ‘Almost all eukaryotes have multiple copies of their nuclear ribosomal RNA cistrons, arranged in a long tandem array.’
    • ‘Benzer called this unit the ‘cistron’; molecular biologists came to view the cistron as the nucleotide sequence encoding a single polypeptide.’
    • ‘We find that full function of the endogenous rDNA locus depends not merely on the presence of the rDNA cistrons but also on chromosomal context.’
    • ‘Molecular evolution of the rDNA cistron in these plants typically follows the same trajectory.’
    • ‘The estimate was defined at the scale of cistrons so as to exclude the possibility of recombination.’


1950s from cis- (sense 3) + trans-(because of the possibility of two genes being on the same or different chromosomes) + -on.