mutagen


mu·ta·gen

noun \ˈmyü-tə-jən\

Definition of MUTAGEN

:  an agent (as a chemical or various radiations) that tends to increase the frequency or extent of mutation
mu·ta·gen·ic \ˌmyü-tə-ˈje-nik\ adjective
mu·ta·gen·i·cal·ly \-ni-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Origin of MUTAGEN

International Scientific Vocabulary mutation + -gen
First Known Use: 1933

mu·ta·gen

noun \ˈmyüt-ə-jən\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of MUTAGEN

: a substance (as a chemical or various radiations) that tends to increase the frequency or extent of mutation

mutagen

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

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.

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