Definition of polymorphism in English:

polymorphism

noun

  • 1The condition of occurring in several different forms.

    ‘the complexity and polymorphism of human cognition’
    1. 1.1Biology The occurrence of different forms among the members of a population or colony, or in the life cycle of an individual organism.
      • ‘Both position types occur in every crossbill population studied, so the maintenance of this polymorphism necessitates an evolutionary explanation.’
      • ‘In the subclass Hexacorallia, polymorphism of polyps in colonies is unknown, so for this group, variation in life cycles simply involves fission.’
      • ‘Examples of the concept include Integration and polymorphism: degree of autonomy of individual versus integration of specialized individuals, relative degrees of fitness (Boardman and Cheetham, 1973; Schopf, 1973; Bates and Kirk, 1985; Pitelka and Ashmun, 1985; Mackie, 1986).’
      • ‘Many of the 5000 or so bryozoan species exhibit polymorphism.’
    2. 1.2Genetics The presence of genetic variation within a population, upon which natural selection can operate.
      • ‘Future clinical trials may be aimed at specific patient populations determined by genetic polymorphism and other risk factors.’
      • ‘Some of the genetic polymorphism that existed in the ancestral populations was lost in the populations of the two lakes.’
      • ‘A common goal of population genetic investigations is to explain the fate of genetic polymorphism within a species.’
      • ‘Double reduction may play a significant role in plant evolution and the maintenance of genetic polymorphism in natural populations.’
      • ‘Organisms exhibiting genetic polymorphism often also exhibit true alternative life-history strategies in which behavioral tactics are genetically fixed.’
    3. 1.3Biochemistry The occurrence of a number of alternative forms within a section of a nucleic acid or protein molecule.
      • ‘To analyze sequences for neutrality, we performed tests based on protein polymorphism only.’
      • ‘Estimates of nucleotide polymorphism within each chromosomal arrangement are presented in table 1.’
      • ‘Moreover, genetic polymorphism of CYP genes, alone or in combination, have been identified as a cancer risk modifier in various cancers including lung.’
      • ‘Histograms of allelic frequencies revealed strikingly different patterns of polymorphism among loci.’
      • ‘The large number of loci investigated in this study allowed us to search for possible causes of different levels of polymorphism among loci.’
    4. 1.4Computing A feature of a programming language that allows routines to use variables of different types at different times.
      • ‘And, templates can be used with inheritance for applications such as parameterized virtuality, which combines the best of two forms of polymorphism.’
      • ‘RMI uses object serialization to marshal and unmarshal parameters and does not truncate types, supporting true object-oriented polymorphism.’
      • ‘Late binding in addition to data types provides a needed aspect to allow polymorphism or the choosing of an object's method implementation at run-time.’
      • ‘A sketch about patterns, interfaces and polymorphism preceded a discussion of the Memento, Command and Objects for State patterns, which were fine and relatively unambiguous.’
      • ‘The doubling-up of parentheses in the way Verity describes is nothing more or less than an early form of polymorphism, as functions can also be seen as virtual arrays of infinite values.’

Pronunciation

polymorphism

/ˌpälēˈmôrfizəm//ˌpɑliˈmɔrfɪzəm/