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noun, plural: variations

A difference or deviation (e.g. in structure, form, function) from the recognized norm or standard

(genetics) Genetic differences within and among species or a population

(genetics) A variant or a mutant


Variation, in general sense, pertains to the deviations or divergences in a set or a group. In biology, variation refers to the differences or deviations (e.g. in structure, form, function) from the recognized norm or standard. It may be a modification in structure, form or function in an organism, deviating from other organisms of the same species or group.

In genetics, variation refers to an individual that possesses characteristics different from the others of the same kind. Genetic variation pertains to the variations of genomes between members of species, or between groups of species thriving in different parts of the world as a result of genetic mutation. It may also mean a variant or a mutant (i.e. an organism possessing characteristic(s) as a result of mutation).

Variation can be measured at the individual level, i.e. differences between individual people, or at the population level, i.e. differences between populations living in different regions.

Word origin: Latin variātiōn- (s. of variātiō), equiv. to variāt(us)

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