Difference Between Wild Type and Mutant Type

Wild Type vs Mutant

Wild type and mutant type are terms of genetics that describe the phenotypic characteristics expressed in organisms according to the genetic makeup. When these terms are considered together, the attention should be paid on a particular species as a mutant type could be identified from a population only after the wild type is known. There are ample evidence and examples to understand these two terms and distinguish the differences between mutant type and wild type.

Wild Type

Wild type is the phenotype expressed for a particular gene or set of genes in a species. In fact, the wild type is the most abundant phenotype among individuals of a particular species, which has been favoured by the natural selection. It has been formerly known as the expressed phenotype from the standard or the normal allele at a locus. However, the most prevalent phenotype has a tendency to vary according to the geographical or the environmental changes across the world. Therefore, the phenotype with the most occurrences has been defined as the wild type.

The golden yellowish fur with black colour stripes in Bengal Tiger, black spots on pale golden fur in leopards and jaguars are some classic examples for wild type phenotypes. The agouti coloured fur (brown and black bands on each hair shaft) is the wild type of many rodents and rabbits. It would be important to notice that the wild type could be different across one species as humans have different skin colours in Negroid, Mongoloid, and Caucasoid. The variation in the wild type based on the population could be mainly due to the geographical and other genetic causes. However, in a particular population, there could be only one wild type.

Mutant Type

Mutant type is a phenotype resulted off a mutation. In other words, any phenotype other than the wild type could be described as a mutant type. There could be one or many mutant type phenotypes in a population. White tiger has black stripes in white colour background of fur, and that is a mutant type. Additionally, there could be albino tigers with the entire fur being white coloured. Both these colourations are not common for Bengal tigers, which are mutant types. Panther or the melanistic form of big cats is also a mutant type.

Mutant types have a great importance when it comes to evolution as they become important to create a new species with different characters. It should be stated that individuals with genetic disorders are not mutant types. Mutant types do not have the most common occurrence in a population but very few. If the mutant type becomes dominant over other phenotypes, it will be the wild type afterwards. As an example, if there were more night time than daytime, then the panthers would become more prevalent than others through natural selection, since they can hunt unseen in the night. After that, the once mutant type panther becomes the wild type.

What is the difference between Wild Type and Mutant Type?

• Wild type is the most commonly occurring phenotype in a population while mutant type could be the least common phenotype.

• There could be one or many mutant types in a population while there is only one wild type in a particular population.

• Wild type could be varied based on the genetic makeup and the geographical differences, whereas mutant type could be a variation only from the others.

• Mutant types contribute to evolution via creating new species, whereas wild type does not have a big impact on the evolution.