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3.5.1.: Definitions and general considerations A mutation means a permanent change in the amount or structure of the genetic material in a cell. The term ‘mutation’ applies both to heritable genetic changes that may be manifested at the phenotypic level and to the underlying DNA modifications when known (including specific base pair changes and chromosomal translocations). The term ‘mutagenic’ and ‘mutagen’ will be used for agents giving rise to an increased occurrence of mutations in populations of cells and/or organisms. The more general terms ‘genotoxic’ and ‘genotoxicity’ apply to agents or processes which alter the structure, information content, or segregation of DNA, including those which cause DNA damage by interfering with normal replication processes, or which in a non-physiological manner (temporarily) alter its replication. Genotoxicity test results are usually taken as indicators for mutagenic effects.