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In biology, a mutagen (Latin, roughly change start or change origin) is an agent that changes the genetic information (usually DNA) of an organism and thus increases the number of mutations above the natural background level.

Mutagens can be chemical compounds or radiation.

One method to detect how mutagenic an agent is the Ames test

See also : teratogenesis -- DNA repair -- genetics

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45