mutation

noun

mu·​ta·​tion myü-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce mutation (audio)
1
: a significant and basic alteration : change
2
: umlaut
3
a
: 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 mutationGeorge 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
mutational 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 building is a mutation of the original design.
Recent Examples on the Web Sam Fetters These events could include mutations in dividing fetal cells, or something that causes certain genes to be switched on or off. Jon Hamilton, NPR, 4 Apr. 2024 Research has shown that mutations in the ABCC8 gene, which helps release insulin, are a common cause of this genetic disorder. Barbie Cervoni, Health, 2 Apr. 2024 However, there's no indication from those previous infections that this mutation makes the virus more likely to spread among humans. Will Stone, NPR, 4 Apr. 2024 The definition of a music director has undergone a mutation in recent decades: such doubling- and tripling-up of appointments has become commonplace. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 2 Apr. 2024 The inheritance pattern of type 1 diabetes is unclear, but mutations in the HLA-DQA1, HLA-DQB1, and HLA-DRB1 genes increase risk. Barbie Cervoni, Health, 2 Apr. 2024 Image Some mutations acquired as the virus evolves may offer no benefit at all, or may even hinder it, Dr. Koelle said. Apoorva Mandavilli, New York Times, 22 Mar. 2024 Over time, however, this process caused mutations to develop in the strain’s genome. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Mar. 2024 By blocking the activity of this mutation, Selumetinib can slow or stop the growth of cancer cells. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mutation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near mutation

Cite this Entry

“Mutation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mutation. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

mutation

noun
mu·​ta·​tion myü-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce mutation (audio)
1
: a basic and important change
2
a
: a permanent change in hereditary material involving either a change in the position of the genes on the chromosomes or a basic change in the chemical structure of a gene
also : the process of producing a mutation
b
: an individual, strain, or trait resulting from mutation

Medical Definition

mutation

noun
mu·​ta·​tion myü-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce mutation (audio)
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
mutational adjective
mutationally adverb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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