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- 2the changing of the structure of a gene, resulting in a variant form which may be transmitted to subsequent generations, caused by the alteration of single base units in DNA, or the deletion, insertion, or rearrangement of larger sections of genes or chromosomes: mutation is, ultimately, the only way in which new variation enters the species
- (in Celtic languages) change of an initial consonant in a word caused (historically) by the preceding word. See also lenition.
late Middle English: from Latin mutatio(n-), from mutare 'to change'