genetic shift

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An abrupt transition in a genetically determined characteristic that is presumably due to a mutation. This happens with some pathogenic microorganisms, such as the influenza virus, and explains the origin of some antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria. Evolutionary biologists have gathered evidence that genetic shift probably accounts for some evolutionary changes that differentiate earlier forms of higher organisms studied by paleontologists from their contemporary counterparts.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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