AskDefine | Define mutant

Dictionary Definition

mutant adj : tending to undergo or resulting from mutation; "a mutant gene"


1 (biology) an organism that has characteristics resulting from chromosomal alteration [syn: mutation, variation, sport]
2 an animal that has undergone mutation

User Contributed Dictionary

see Mutant



  • a UK /ˈmjuːtənt/
  • a US /ˈmjuʔɨnt/


  1. Something which has mutated, which has one or more new characteristics from a mutation.
    • Your plaid fish are mutants.
  2. Someone or something that seems strange, abnormal, or bizarre.
    • I think your brother is a mutant; he’s so weird!


Something that has mutated
  • French: mutant
  • German: Mutante
  • Spanish: mutante


  1. Something which has undergone mutation.
    • Your mutant fish are dying.
  2. Strange, abnormal, or bizarre.
    • Your mutant brother just growled at me again!

Extensive Definition

A mutant is an individual, organism, or new genetic character arising or resulting from an instance of mutation, which is a sudden structural change within the DNA of a gene or chromosome of an organism resulting in the creation of a new character or trait not found in the wildtype. The natural occurrence of genetic mutations is integral to the process of evolution.

Usage of the word 'mutant'

Although not all mutations have a noticeable phenotypic effect, the common usage of the word mutant is generally a pejorative term only used for noticeable mutations. The scientific usage is broader, referring to any organism differing from the wild type. A more general term for mutant is sport, which includes individuals who vary from type due to mutation, as well as those that vary from type due to other reasons.
Developmental abnormalities caused by errors during morphogenesis are sometimes incorrectly referred to as mutants, but do not actually arise from mutation. In a developmental abnormality, the DNA of the organism is unchanged and the abnormality cannot be passed on to progeny. Examples would be conjoined twins, or the conjoined banana at right.
Examples of true mutants include:

Somatic mutation

Occasionally, a body cell in a healthy organism will acquire a mutation caused by a genetic error occurring during routine cell division, or by environmental damage such as ultraviolet light exposure. This is also known as a "somatic mutation", and cannot be passed to progeny. If the mutation affects a gene controlling the cell cycle, the affected cell may begin to divide uncontrollably, creating cancer.

Wild type

Wild type (sometimes written wildtype, wild-type or +) is the genetic term used in texts for the typical form of an organism, strain, gene, or characteristic as it was first observed in nature. Wild type refers to the most common phenotype in the natural population; however this may, over a period of time, be replaced by a mutant form, which then becomes the new wildtype. The phenotype can be dominant or recessive. Naturally occurring mutant phenotypes play a role in evolution.

See also


mutant in Czech: Mutant
mutant in Danish: Mutant
mutant in German: Wildtyp
mutant in Croatian: Mutant
mutant in Italian: Mutante
mutant in Dutch: veldstam
mutant in Dutch: Mutant
mutant in Polish: Mutant
mutant in Simple English: Mutant (Marvel)
mutant in Swedish: Mutant
mutant in Thai: มนุษย์กลายพันธุ์
mutant in Turkish: Mutant
mutant in Chinese: 突變型

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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