mutation

noun
mu·​ta·​tion | \ myü-ˈtā-shən \

Definition of mutation

1 : a significant and basic alteration : change
2 : umlaut
3a : a relatively permanent change in hereditary material that involves either a change in chromosome structure or number (as in translocation, deletion, duplication, or polyploidy) or a change in the nucleotide sequence of a gene's codons (as in frameshift or missense errors) and that occurs either in germ cells or in somatic cells but with only those in germ cells being capable of perpetuation by sexual reproduction Mutations known to cause disease have been identified in approximately 1000 genes.— Alan E. Guttmacher and Francis S. Collins also : the process of producing a mutation Microorganisms have been used extensively to study mutation— George A. Wistreich et al.
b : an individual, strain, or trait resulting from mutation The worst E. coli bacterium, E. coli 0157:H, a mutation discovered in 1982 that has at least sixty-two subtypes, causes hemorrhagic colitis …— Wayne Biddle

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Other Words from mutation

mutational \ -​shnəl , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
mutationally adverb

Examples of mutation in a Sentence

The cat's short tail is the result of mutation. The condition is caused by a genetic mutation. The cat's short tail is the result of a mutation. The building is a mutation of the original design.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The emergence of such diseases depends a great deal on spontaneous genetic mutations and circumstantial factors. R. Daniel Bressler, Vox, "“Designer bugs”: how the next pandemic might come from a lab," 6 Dec. 2018 In the developing brain, mutations and other genetic changes that occur while brain cells divide are passed down to a cluster of daughter cells. Robert Martone, Scientific American, "Early Life Experience: It’s in Your DNA," 10 July 2018 However, inhibition of p53 leaves the cell transiently vulnerable to the introduction of chromosomal rearrangements and other tumorigenic mutations. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Archived chat: last week in CRISPR — cancer, patents, and a dip in the market," 19 June 2018 Manager Bob Melvin is hoping to get three innings out of the veteran right-hander, who developed a blazing fastball due to mutation caused by toxic sewage flowing through his office. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sunday Punch: How Stephen Curry could change the NFL," 24 Mar. 2018 Cancer cells arise because of mutations that result in the production of altered proteins that can also be recognized as new to the immune system. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Treatments that cause the immune system to attack cancer earn a Nobel," 1 Oct. 2018 About 54 percent of mutations detected in the blood samples were from white blood cells rather than cancers, the researchers said. Dennis Thompson, chicagotribune.com, "Blood test shows promise in detecting lung cancer," 5 June 2018 In his own research, Hellmann said, his team finessed the dosing of the two drugs to minimize side effects, and found that the combination therapy was significantly better than chemotherapy alone against tumors with a lot of mutations. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, "New studies show hope for turning immune system against lung cancer," 16 Apr. 2018 The female-line descendants shared the exact same mitochondrial DNA (except for a single mutation acquired through the generations) as Richard III. William Herkewitz, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Confirm These Really Are the Bones of Richard III," 2 Dec. 2014

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mutation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mutation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for mutation

The first known use of mutation was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for mutation

mutation

noun
mu·​ta·​tion | \ myü-ˈtā-shən \

Kids Definition of mutation

: a change in a gene or the resulting new trait it produces in an individual

mutation

noun
mu·​ta·​tion | \ myü-ˈtā-shən \

Medical Definition of mutation

1 : a relatively permanent change in hereditary material that involves either a change in chromosome structure or number (as in translocation, deletion, duplication, or polyploidy) or a change in the nucleotide sequence of a gene's codons (as in frameshift or missense errors) and occurs either in germ cells or in somatic cells but with only those in germ cells being capable of perpetuation by sexual reproduction also : the process of producing a mutation
2 : an individual, strain, or trait resulting from mutation

Other Words from mutation

mutational \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl \ adjective
mutationally \ -​ē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on mutation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mutation

Spanish Central: Translation of mutation

Nglish: Translation of mutation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mutation for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mutation

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