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the unit of mutation; the smallest section of a gene. Mutation is a change in a muton, leading to the emergence of a new, mutant form of a given organism. The terms “muton,” “cistron,” and “recon” were proposed by the American geneticist S. Benzer in 1957 to describe a definite gene function. The term “muton” later fell into disuse because it became clear that the muton corresponds to one pair of nucleotides in the DNA molecule and to a single nucleotide in viruses, which contain only single-stranded DNA or RNA.