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

Attacking mutations was one solution, Nowak realized, but attacking selection was another. John Rennie, WIRED, "This Mutation Math Shows How Life Keeps on Evolving," 1 July 2018 The oddball could be the result of either a genetic mutation or its reliance on a low-pigment food source. Robinson Russell, National Geographic, "Why This Rare Lobster Is Colored Like Blue Cotton Candy," 19 June 2018 But mutations aren't the only way to change gene activity, and new research suggests a different explanation for the fish's lack of eyes. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "An evolutionary adaptation that doesn’t directly rely on new mutations," 1 June 2018 In the absence of early priming (and in the presence of the right genetic mutation), a later infection can trigger leukemia. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "New 'unified theory' of childhood leukemia raises possibility of preventing the disease," 23 May 2018 Specifically, this new test looks for three mutations found on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "You Can Now Test for BRCA Genetic Mutations at Home—But Should You?," 8 Mar. 2018 Research in medical genetics has led to cancer drugs that target specific genetic mutations in tumor cells, as well as statins, which are widely prescribed to prevent heart attacks and strokes by lowering blood cholesterol. Denise Grady, New York Times, "Arno Motulsky, a Founder of Medical Genetics, Dies at 94," 29 Jan. 2018 To figure out what mutations are present in cancer cells, doctors often rely on a genetic analysis of the tumor, by way of a biopsy. Christina Galbraith, Newsweek, "Personalized Cancer Treatment, Driven by a Blood Filter the Size of a CD," 25 Apr. 2015 Smoking history makes no difference to a patient’s medical path beyond factoring into what specific mutations to look for or what kind of drugs might be more effective. Jeffrey E. Poehlmann, Philly.com, "Opioids are the only way he can manage his cancer pain. Stigma creates more problems," 7 June 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

3 Nov 2018

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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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