The blue lobster is an example of a mutant.
Wild-type Physcomitrella and knockout-mosses: Deviating phenotypes induced in gene-disruption library transformants. Physcomitrella wild-type and transformed plants were grown on minimal Knop medium to induce differentiation and development of gametophores. For each plant, an overview (upper row, scale bar corresponds to 1 mm) and a close-up (bottom row, scale bar equals 0.5 mm) is shown. A, Haploid wild-type moss plant completely covered with leafy gametophores and close-up of wild-type leaf. B-D, Different Mutants.[1]

In biology and especially genetics, a mutant is an individual, organism, or new genetic character, arising or resulting from an instance of mutation, which is a base-pair sequence 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 wild type. The natural occurrence of genetic mutations is integral to the process of evolution. The study of mutants is an integral part of biology, by understanding the effect that a mutation in a gene has it is possible to establish the normal function of that gene.[2] In some organisms mutants can be created by gene targeting to assess the function of any given gene. This experimental approach is called reverse genetics[3]. For example, a collection of knockout moss mutants can be used to identify genes with so far unknown functions [4].


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.[5] The scientific usage is broader, referring to any organism differing from the wild type.

Mutants should not be confused with organisms born with developmental abnormalities, which are caused by errors during morphogenesis. In a developmental abnormality, the DNA of the organism is unchanged and the abnormality cannot be passed on to progeny. Conjoined twins are the result of developmental abnormalities.

Chemicals that cause developmental abnormalities are called teratogens; these may also cause mutations, but their effect on development is not related to mutations. Chemicals that induce mutations are called mutagens. Most mutagens are also considered to be carcinogens.


  1. ^ Egener et al. BMC Plant Biology 2002 2:6 doi:10.1186/1471-2229-2-6
  2. ^ Clock Mutants of Drosophila melanogaster
  3. ^ Ralf Reski (1998): Physcomitrella and Arabidopsis: the David and Goliath of reverse genetics. Trends in Plant Science 3, 209-210 doi:10.1016/S1360-1385(98)01257-6
  4. ^ Egener et al. BMC Plant Biology 2002 2:6 doi:10.1186/1471-2229-2-6
  5. ^ Mutant. (n.d.). The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved March 05, 2008, from website:

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  • mutant — mutant, ante [ mytɑ̃, ɑ̃t ] adj. et n. • 1909; all. ou angl. mutant → mutation ♦ Biol. Qui a subi une mutation. Gène, caractère, type mutant. « Dès lors que la nouvelle espèce naît dans un seul individu mutant » (J. Rostand). N. Organisme dont un …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • mutant — MUTÁNT, mutanţi, s.m. (biol.) Individ care provine dintr o mutaţie (2). – Din fr. mutant. Trimis de ana zecheru, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  mutánt s. m., pl. mutánţi Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic  MUTÁN//T mutantţi …   Dicționar Român

  • Mutant X — may refer to: Mutant X (comics), a Marvel Comics series Proteus (comics), a Marvel Comics fictional character, originally known as Mutant X but unrelated to the series of the same name and publisher Mutant X (TV series), a television show… …   Wikipedia

  • Mutant X — Titre original Mutant X Genre Série de science fiction Créateur(s) Avi Arad Pays d’origine  Canada …   Wikipédia en Français

  • mutant — I {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. mż I, Mc. mutantncie {{/stl 8}}{{stl 7}} zwierzę, roślina będąca rezultatem mutacji {{/stl 7}}{{stl 20}} {{/stl 20}} {{stl 20}} {{/stl 20}}mutant II {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. mos I a. IIIa, Mc. mutantncie; lm M. mutantnci… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • mutant — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ resulting from or showing the effect of mutation. ► NOUN ▪ a mutant form …   English terms dictionary

  • mutant — mutant. См. мутант. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • mùtant — m 〈G mn nātā〉 biol. organizam koji je pretrpio promjenu u nasljednim svojstvima …   Veliki rječnik hrvatskoga jezika

  • mutant — (n.) 1901, in the biological sense, from L. mutantem (nom. mutans) changing, prp. of mutare to change (see MUTABLE (Cf. mutable)). In the science fiction sense, it is attested from 1954. As an adjective from 1903 …   Etymology dictionary

  • mutant — mùtant m <G mn nātā> DEFINICIJA biol. organizam koji je pretrpio promjenu u nasljednim svojstvima ETIMOLOGIJA vidi mutacija …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • mutant — [n] mutation abnormality, deformity, deviation, freak, freak of nature, monster; concepts 424,580 …   New thesaurus

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