mutation

noun
mu·​ta·​tion | \ myü-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce mutation (audio) \

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 How to pronounce mutational (audio) , -​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

This isn’t the first evidence that mutations can prove beneficial for disease resistance and long-term survival. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Could Shark DNA Help Fight Cancer in Humans?," 22 Feb. 2019 So here’s a scary thought: Possible future pandemics may not depend on the chance meeting of different animal species and chance mutations, but may be deliberately designed instead. R. Daniel Bressler, Vox, "“Designer bugs”: how the next pandemic might come from a lab," 6 Dec. 2018 But even patients whose cancers had very low levels of these mutations outlived patients who got chemotherapy by a median of four months. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "For many lung cancer patients, Keytruda is a better initial treatment than chemotherapy, study finds," 5 June 2018 The ironic silver lining, however, is that the abuse sparked his mutation, which allowed him the ability to heal from just about anything. Temi Adebowale, Harper's BAZAAR, "Ryan Reynolds Refused to Let His Daughters on the Deadpool 2 Set for an Understandable Reason," 23 May 2018 Several studies have shown that as many as 50 percent of people with one of these mutations wouldn’t qualify for breast or ovarian cancer screening under current medical guidelines. Anne Wojcicki, STAT, "Consumers don’t need experts to interpret 23andMe genetic risk reports," 9 Apr. 2018 Some of these mutations, found only after spaceflight, are thought to be caused by the stresses of space travel. Susan Scutti, CNN, "Astronaut's DNA no longer matches that of his identical twin, NASA finds," 14 Mar. 2018 Anywhere from 10% to 18% of the northern European population have a mutation in the CCR5 gene called delta 32 that prevents most types of HIV from entering the body. Amy Dockser Marcus, WSJ, "Scientists Skeptical About Gene-Edited Baby Experiment," 12 Dec. 2018 People with one copy of the mutation can still get HIV. Malcolm Ritter, The Seattle Times, "Q&A on scientist’s bombshell claim of gene-edited babies," 28 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for mutation

Last Updated

7 Apr 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 How to pronounce mutation (audio) \

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 How to pronounce mutation (audio) \

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 How to pronounce mutational (audio) \ adjective
mutationally \ -​ē How to pronounce mutationally (audio) \ 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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