In biology and especially genetics, a mutant is an individual, organism, or new genetic character, arising or resulting from an instance of mutation, which is a base-pair sequence change within the DNA of a gene or chromosome of an organism resulting in the creation of a new character or trait not found in the wild type. The natural occurrence of genetic mutations is integral to the process of evolution. The study of mutants is an integral part of biology; by understanding the effect that a mutation in a gene has, it is possible to establish the normal function of that gene.
In some organisms mutants can be created by gene targeting to assess the function of any given gene. This experimental approach is called reverse genetics. For example, a collection of knockout-moss mutants can be used to identify genes with so far unknown functions.