The following is from the novel Wonder written by R. J. Palacio

There are countless people under words like "germline mosaicism." Countless babies who'll never be born.

What does "under" mean? Does it mean under influence?

  • Please provide a more complete context. Mosaicism occurs when a person has two or more genetically different sets of cells in his or her body. It's a very unusual technical term that wouldn't normally occur in a popular novel. Feb 9 at 3:38
  • There are countless people under words like "germline mosaicism," "chromosome rearrangement," or "delayed nutation." Countless babies who'll never be born, like mine. From page 106 of Wonder by R. J. Palacio
    – Stephen
    Feb 9 at 3:45
  • ...I found They use terms like "germline mosaicism," "chromosome rearrangement," or "delayed mutation" to explain why their science is not an exact science in Google Books. Your example looks like a somewhat clumsy echo of that. What exactly "babies who'll never be born" has to do with mosaicism isn't obvious to me. Feb 9 at 3:46
  • I was asking about the meaning of "under." What do you think of the word?
    – Stephen
    Feb 9 at 3:48
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers The novel in question is about a boy with Treacher-Collins syndrome, and nothing to do with "trans ideology". Rather telling that you jump to that conclusion.
    – RisingZan
    Feb 9 at 3:59

1 Answer 1


Quick answer:

The meaning of "under" being applied here is "within the group or designation of"

Longer answer with full context:

The book in question, Wonder is about a boy, August or 'Auggie', with a genetic condition that causes severe facial deformities (Treacher Collins Syndrome).

The book changes point of view between chapter's, and this particular chapter is from the point of view of Auggie's sister Olivia, who carries a single copy of the gene that caused August's condition. Both of their parents were carriers. Besides inheriting two copies of the bad gene, August has additonal genetic issues that were not inherited from either parent - what are typically called "de novo mutations"

Here, Olivia is discussing the terms the doctors and geneticists use when trying to explain those unexplained mutations. When she says there are :

There are countless people under words like "germline mosaicism", "chromosome rearrangement" and "delayed mutation."

she is saying that those are broad umbrella terms which can be applied to many people. The meaning of "under" being applied here is "within the group or designation of"


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