I am writing about how the structure of a protein looks similar to previously lab-made proteins. But the subject of my work is of uncertain origin. So I am looking for a word that allows me to say something like:
The ________ structure of the name_undecided protein, leads me to think...

  • 1
    You could use apparently for "looks": "apparently man-made", "apparently fabricated", "apparently artifical". There may be a single word which is better than those, though.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 12, 2021 at 12:57
  • @AndrewLeach Thanks! It's not simply an issue of a single word, although that would be preferable. I do want to make the implication that similar proteins have in the past been synthesized in the lab as original chemicals that don't exist in nature...
    – OC2PS
    Jun 12, 2021 at 13:00
  • Synthetic protein
    – Satya
    Jun 12, 2021 at 13:35
  • Maybe "artificial-looking"
    – Barmar
    Jun 15, 2021 at 5:38
  • You could refer to a specific synthetic protein and add the suffix "-like".
    – Stuart F
    Jun 15, 2021 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


Synthetic or manufactured is now often recommended in the academic/technical literature as a replacement for the gendered manmade.

If you're certain that the protein was designed rather than evolved, you could use "The synthetic structure..." However, it sounds like you aren't certain. In this case, you could use

"The synthetic-appearing structure..." or

"The synthetic aspects [or nature or appearance or configuration or arrangement] of the structure..." or

"The protein characteristics, which evoke synthetic structures..." or

"The protein structure, which appears similar to those of manufactured proteins, ..." and so on.

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