A directional property of crystals and fibers having a high degree of molecular orientation. Anisotropic substances have different physical properties when tested in different directions. When a ray of plane polarized light passes through anisotropic material, it is split into two rays polarized in mutually perpendicular planes. This property of anisotropic material is called birefringence. Muscle fibers and the metaphase spindle are examples of living materials exhibiting birefringence. Materials showing no birefringence are said to be isotropic. See polarization microscope.
Subjects: Genetics and Genomics.