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.

Words Nearby mutations

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

How to use mutations in a sentence

  • He found that new species of plants and animals arise suddenly by "mutations" or steps.

    A Civic Biology | George William Hunter
  • Epistolary forms and fashions have had their mutations like all other human things.

  • Such is the vicissitude of human affairs, that within a few years many strange mutations occur, even in places of no great extent.

  • However, all the mutations so increasingly discernible in village life did not originate entirely in the agricultural unrest.

  • A gigantic satire upon the mutations of his nymph during the past twenty years seemed looming in the distance.

    The Well-Beloved | Thomas Hardy