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Wild type (abbreviation wt) refers to the phenotype of the typical form of a species as it occurs in nature. Originally, the wild type was conceptualized as a product of the standard "normal" allele at a locus, in contrast to that produced by a non-standard, "mutant" allele. "Mutant” alleles can vary to a great extent, and even become the wild type if a genetic shift occurs within the population. It is now appreciated that most or all gene loci exist in a variety of allelic forms, which vary in frequency throughout the geographic range of a species, and that a uniform wild type does not exist. In general, however, the most prevalent allele – i.e., the one with the highest gene frequency - is the one deemed as wild type.
The concept of wild type is useful in some experimental organisms such as fruit flies Drosophila melanogaster, in which the standard phenotypes for features such as eye color or wing shape are known to be altered by particular gene mutations that produce distinctive phenotypes, such as "apricot" "bar eyes" or "vestigial wings". Research involving the manipulation of wild-type alleles has application in many fields, including fighting disease and commercial food production.-type alleles are indicated with a "+" superscript, for example B+ and vg+ for round eyes and full-size wings, respectively.
The genetic code for wild-type versus “mutant” phenotypes and how these genes interact in expression is the subject of much research. Better understanding of these processes is hoped to bring about methods for preventing and curing diseases that are currently incurable such as cancer and the Herpes virus. As gene observation technology continues to advance, such cures could possibly be locked in our own genes.
Select breeding to enhance the most beneficial traits is the structure upon which agriculture is built. Genetic manipulation expedited the evolution process to make crop plants and animals larger and more disease resistant.   As more is understood about these genes, agriculture will continue to become a more efficient process, which will be relied upon to sustain a continually growing population.
- Jones, Elizabeth; Hartl, Daniel L. (1998). Genetics: principles and analysis. Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. ISBN 0-7637-0489-X.
- Zhao, Zhang, Yan, Yang, Wu (July 2014). "Efficacy of epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors versus chemotherapy as second-line treatment in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer with wild-type EGFR: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials". Lung Cancer 85 (1): 66–73.
- Batista, Franco, Vicentini, Spilki, Silva,Adania, Roehe. "NEUTRALIZING ANTIBODIES AGAINST FELINE HERPESVIRUS TYPE 1 IN CAPTIVE WILD FELIDS OF BRAZIL". Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine.
- Davidson, Nagar, Ribshtein, Shkoda, Perk, Garcia. "Detection of Wild- and Vaccine-Type Avian Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus in Clinical Samples and Feather Shafts of Commercial Chickens Full Access". Avian Diseases 58 (2).
- The Humane Society of America. An HSUS Report: Welfare Issues with Selective Breeding of Egg-Laying Hens for Productivity.
- "Absence of the wild-type allele" - Pediatrics
- "Genetically-spliced bacteria may benefit agriculture" - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
- "Reading of DNA allows creation of synthetic vaccines" - Star News
- "A Curious Clue in Cats" - Newsday
- "A Genetically Engineered Agriculture Revolution?" - The Telegraph
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