the state or condition of being polymorphous.
Crystallography. crystallization into two or more chemically identical but crystallographically distinct forms.
Biology. the existence of an organism in several form or color varieties as a result of discontinuous variation.
Genetics. the presence of two or more distinct phenotypes in a population due to the expression of different alleles of a given gene, as human blood groups O, A, B, and AB.
- pol·y·mor·phis·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use polymorphism in a sentence
For the most part I think people are familiar with what scientists call SNPs, single nucleotide polymorphisms, and what other people might refer to as mutations.How the Human Genome Project revolutionized understanding of our DNA | Tina Hesman Saey | February 9, 2022 | Science News
So we conducted a genetic investigation that looked for single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or “snips”—differences in a single DNA building block between one plant and another.This secret mangrove forest is unlike any other in the world | Sula E Vanderplank/The Conversation | October 19, 2021 | Popular-Science
We now understand the process by which a polymorphic race maintains its polymorphism.Evolution in Modern Thought | Ernst Haeckel
Four days later, after the fourth ecdysis, the dimorphism becomes a polymorphism.Studies in the Theory of Descent (Volumes 1 and 2) | August Weismann
On these grounds I designate the phenomenon as polymorphism, although it may not yet have reached, as such, its sharpest limits.Studies in the Theory of Descent (Volumes 1 and 2) | August Weismann
British Dictionary definitions for polymorphism
the occurrence of more than one form of individual in a single species within an interbreeding population
the occurrence of more than one form in the individual polyps of a coelenterate colony
the existence or formation of different types of crystal of the same chemical compound
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Scientific definitions for polymorphism
The occurrence of more than one form, as several alleles of a particular gene or winged and wingless forms of the same species. In bees, the presence of queen, worker, and drone is an example of polymorphism. Differences between the sexes and between breeds of domesticated animals are not considered examples of polymorphism.
The crystallization of a compound in at least two distinct forms. Diamond and graphite, for example, are polymorphs of the element carbon. They both consist entirely of carbon but have different crystal structures and different physical properties.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.