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mutation

A mutation is a genetic change that causes new and different characteristics, like the mutation on the dog's DNA that makes its tail shorter than its ancestors' tails.

Mutation comes from the Latin word mutationem meaning "a changing." You might recognize this root in related words like mutate, mutable, and mutant. We often think of mutations as changes in an animal's genetic structure, but there are other kinds of mutations. For example, if an architect designs an award-winning building, her later designs that are similar might be called mutations of that one.

Definitions of mutation
  1. noun
    a change or alteration in form or qualities
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    type of:
    alteration, change, modification
    an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another
  2. noun
    (genetics) any event that changes genetic structure; any alteration in the inherited nucleic acid sequence of the genotype of an organism
    synonyms: chromosomal mutation, genetic mutation
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    types:
    show 6 types...
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    deletion
    (genetics) the loss or absence of one or more nucleotides from a chromosome
    inversion
    (genetics) a kind of mutation in which the order of the genes in a section of a chromosome is reversed
    transposition
    (genetics) a kind of mutation in which a chromosomal segment is transfered to a new position on the same or another chromosome
    gene mutation, point mutation
    (genetics) a mutation due to an intramolecular reorganization of a gene
    reversion
    (genetics) a return to a normal phenotype (usually resulting from a second mutation)
    saltation
    (genetics) a mutation that drastically changes the phenotype of an organism or species
    type of:
    alteration, change, modification
    an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another
  3. noun
    (biology) an organism that has characteristics resulting from chromosomal alteration
    synonyms: mutant, sport, variation
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    types:
    freak, lusus naturae, monster, monstrosity
    a person or animal that is markedly unusual or deformed
    leviathan
    the largest or most massive thing of its kind
    type of:
    being, organism
    a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently
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