[myoo-tey-shuh n] /myuˈteɪ ʃən/


the act or process of changing.
a change or alteration, as in form or nature.
Phonetics. .
Linguistics. (in Celtic languages) syntactically determined morphophonemic phenomena that affect initial sounds of words.
the act or process of mutating; change; alteration
a change or alteration
a change in the chromosomes or genes of a cell. When this change occurs in the gametes the structure and development of the resultant offspring may be affected See also inversion (sense 11)
another word for mutant (sense 1)
a physical characteristic of an individual resulting from this type of chromosomal change


late 14c., “action of changing,” from Old French mutacion (13c.), and directly from Latin mutationem (nominative mutatio) “a changing, alteration, a turn for the worse,” noun of action from past participle stem of mutare “to change” (see mutable). Genetic sense is from 1894.

mutation mu·ta·tion (myōō-tā’shən)

mu·ta’tion·al adj.
mu·ta’tion·al·ly adv.
A change in the structure of the genes or chromosomes of an organism. Mutations occurring in the reproductive cells, such as an egg or sperm, can be passed from one generation to the next. Most mutations occur in junk DNA and have no discernible effects on the survivability of an organism. Of the remaining mutations, the majority have harmful effects, while a minority can increase an organism’s ability to survive. A mutation that benefits a species may evolve by means of natural selection into a trait shared by some or all members of the species. See Note at sickle cell anemia.

Changes in chromosomes or genes that cause offspring to have characteristics different from those of their parents. Mutations can be caused by the effects of chemicals, radiation, or even ordinary heat on DNA. Mutations produce some of the differences between members of a species on which natural selection acts.


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  • Mutatis-mutandis

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