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Definition: polymorphism

  • The word polymorphism technically means ‘presence of many forms’
  • In genetic terms, it refers to the coexistence of two or more alternative phenotypes in a population or among populations. In general, these diverse phenotypes are caused by alternative alleles of one gene/locus
  • At the molecular level, polymorphism refers to the coexistence of alternative banding patterns or DNA variants when revealed by a given detection method, such as that shown on the gel diagram in the previous slide