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pleomorphism

[plee-uh-mawr-fiz-uh m] /ˌpli əˈmɔr fɪz əm/
noun, Biology
1.
existence of an organism in two or more distinct forms during the life cycle; polymorphism.
Also, pleomorphy.
Origin
1860-1865
1860-65; pleo- + -morph + -ism
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for pleomorphism

pleomorphism

/ˌpliːəˈmɔːˌfɪzəm/
noun
1.
the occurrence of more than one different form in the life cycle of a plant or animal
2.
the occurrence of more than one different form of crystal of one chemical compound; polymorphism
Derived Forms
pleomorphic, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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pleomorphism in Medicine

pleomorphism ple·o·mor·phism (plē'ə-môr'fĭz'əm)
n.

  1. See polymorphism.

  2. The occurrence of two or more structural forms during a life cycle, especially of certain plants.


ple'o·mor'phic (-fĭk) or ple'o·mor'phous (-fəs) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for pleomorphism

the existence of irregular and variant forms in the same species or strain of microorganisms, a condition analogous to polymorphism in higher organisms. Pleomorphism is particularly prevalent in certain groups of bacteria and in yeasts, rickettsias, and mycoplasmas and greatly complicates the task of identifying and studying them.

Learn more about pleomorphism with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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