AskDefine | Define congener

Dictionary Definition

congener n : an animal or plant that bears a relationship to another (as related by common descent or by membership in the same genus) [syn: relative, congenator]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A plant or animal of the same taxonomic genus as another
  2. A person or thing similar in behavior or nature to another
  3. Any of several alcohols, other than ethanol, that are found in fermented and distilled alcoholic drinks, and are partially responsible for their flavour and character.


Extensive Definition

A congener (from Latin roots meaning "born together" or "within the same race or kind") has several different meanings depending on the field in which it is used. Colloquially, it is used to mean a person or thing like another in character or action.


In biology, congeners are organisms within the same genus or species. Congeners within the same geographical region can compete, through exploitative, preemptive,interference, and intra and inter competition with one another so many adaptations can be observed that mitigate this pressure on populations. These adaptations may include changes in habitat niche and resource allocations. Predator-prey relationships may also be affected.


In chemistry, congeners are related chemicals, e.g., a derivative or an element in the same group of the periodic table


In the alcoholic beverage industry, congener refers to impurities produced during fermentation or to metals such as zinc, added to certain sweet liqueurs in order to enhance flavor. Congeners are responsible for most of the taste, aroma, and color of alcoholic beverages. It has been suggested that these substances also contribute to the symptoms of a hangover, although the more likely cause is a more complicated mix of ethanol, dehydration, and various other factors (see hangover for a more complete list).


In genetics, congenic organisms are organisms with very similar genomes, except for a small fraction. For example, recombinant congenic mice strains are produced in laboratories as a tool to study genetic disease.
congener in German: Kongenere
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