mutagen


mutagen

Any agent capable of altering a cell's genetic makeup by changing the structure of the hereditary material, DNA. Many forms of electromagnetic radiation (e.g., cosmic rays, X rays, ultraviolet light) are mutagenic, as are various chemical compounds. The effects of some mutagens are increased or suppressed in some organisms by the presence of certain other, nonmutagenic substances; oxygen, for example, makes cells more sensitive to the mutagenic effects of X rays.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on mutagen, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up mutagen? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More