|fluctuation test||medical dictionary|
Test devised by Luria and Delbruck to determine whether genetic variation in a bacterial population arises spontaneously or adaptively. In the original version the statistical variance in the number of bacteriophage resistant cells in separate cultures of bacteriophage sensitive cells was compared with variance in replicate samples from bulk culture. The greater variance in the isolated populations indicates that mutation occurs spontaneously before challenge with phage. (The proportion of resistant cells depends upon when after isolation the mutation arises which will be very different in separate populations).
This entry appears with permission from the Dictionary of Cell and Molecular Biology
(11 Mar 2008)
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