polymorphism

noun
poly·​mor·​phism | \ ˌpä-lē-ˈmȯr-ˌfi-zəm How to pronounce polymorphism (audio) \

Definition of polymorphism

: the quality or state of existing in or assuming different forms: such as
a(1) : existence of a species in several forms independent of the variations of sex
(2) : existence of a gene in several allelic forms also : a variation in a specific DNA sequence
(3) : existence of a molecule (such as an enzyme) in several forms in a single species
b : the property of crystallizing in two or more forms with distinct structure

Other Words from polymorphism

polymorphic \ ˌpä-​lē-​ˈmȯr-​fik How to pronounce polymorphism (audio) \ adjective
polymorphically \ ˌpä-​lē-​ˈmȯr-​fi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce polymorphism (audio) \ adverb

Examples of polymorphism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Some people have a polymorphism that instructs their body to create two of the same enzyme instead of just one. C. Michael White, The Conversation, 4 Oct. 2021 The campaign uses a technique called polymorphism to blast out hundreds of thousands of unique samples. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 10 Dec. 2020 Some of us have a polymorphism, a genetic variant that slows our metabolism for caffeine. Dawn Mackeen, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2020 Genomic Prediction screens embryos for 1m single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)—tiny variations in individuals’ DNA that, added together, can raise or lower the likelihood of suffering a particular disease. The Economist, 8 Nov. 2019 Each variant has a version (more precisely, one of the alleles in a single nucleotide polymorphism) associated with a small boost to the trait in question. Charles Murray, WSJ, 27 Jan. 2020 Both examined more than 500,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)—swaps of one nucleotide for another at a particular spot in the DNA—from the Human Genome Diversity Panel. Gary Stix, Scientific American, 1 Nov. 2012 But then the Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits Consortium—the GIANT consortium for short—identified more than 20,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that influence height in a series of groundbreaking studies. Ben Cohen, WSJ, 18 Sep. 2018 These sites are called single nucleotide polymorphisms — a.k.a. Brian Resnick, Vox, 27 Oct. 2018 See More

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

First Known Use of polymorphism

1839, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for polymorphism

Time Traveler

The first known use of polymorphism was in 1839

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Dictionary Entries Near polymorphism

polymorphean

polymorphism

polymorphonuclear

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Cite this Entry

“Polymorphism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polymorphism. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for polymorphism

polymorphism

noun
poly·​mor·​phism | \ ˌpäl-i-ˈmȯr-ˌfiz-əm How to pronounce polymorphism (audio) \

Medical Definition of polymorphism

: the quality or state of existing in or assuming different forms: as
a(1) : existence of a species in several forms independent of the variations of sex
(2) : existence of a gene in several allelic forms also : a variation in a specific sequence of DNA
(3) : existence of a molecule (as an enzyme) in several forms in a single species
b : the property of crystallizing in two or more forms with distinct structure

More from Merriam-Webster on polymorphism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polymorphism

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