Difference between Mutagen and Carcinogen

Mutagen and Carcinogen are two things that people usually confuse with each other despite their seemingly differently meanings and their causes.

Mutagen is responsible for mutation in a genetic code of an organism. This genetic code is DNA, a molecule that gives genetic instructions in all living organisms.

On the other hand, Carcinogen is responsible for mutation that causes cancer. Carcinogen is more dangerous as its resultant effect is far more visible and life-threatening than that of Mutagen.  The major difference between the two things is the resultant effect, which makes them identifiable and if possible, curable.

Mutagen does not create cancerous cells, while Carcinogen does and can often lead to cancer. Mutagen only causes mutation, but is usually mixed up with Carcinogen due to its characteristics that ultimately lead to cancerous cells. Another major factor that creates confusion is that Carcinogen can also produce mutation, but only in genes that helps in cell growth.


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    Mutagens make external effects that are the cause of mutations or chromosomal aberrations. As a result of mutation and chromosomal aberrations, the genetic material of an organism changes and the resultant effects start becoming visible (cannot be seen with the naked human eye).

    However, Mutagen has some types that have their own characteristics and symptoms. There are physical mutagens such as radiation and high temperatures. Another type of mutagen is chemical mutagen, such as nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

    More precisely, genetic mutation can mean any stable and heritable change in the sequence nucleotide of a genome (human genetic information) or more generally of genetic material, i.e. DNA. A mutation modifies consequently genotype of an individual and may possibly change the phenotype depending on its characteristics and interactions with the environment.

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    A carcinogen is a substance, an organism or a radiation; that creates cancerous cells in a living organism. Carcinogen can also generate or promote cancer formation.

    Carcinogen called carcinogens or carcinogen and is made ​​up of cancer and Genesis together. The term carcinogen, which is derived from the Latin word cancer, contains all sorts cancers, not just the cancer that is created in a human body.

    Carcinogen can also be defined as a chemical complex or simple occupational exposure, risk factors related to lifestyle or physical agents and biological changes in a living organism.

    There are several classifications of carcinogenic substances. The overall evaluation of carcinogenicity is based on an agent (which is mostly chemical, and radiation).

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