Is it wild type or wild-type?

March 1, 2017

Dr. Kathryn Sobek, Filipodia Editor


I received news a month ago that my manuscript was accepted for publication pending minor revisions. I spent this past weekend working on those revisions, and I noticed an inconsistency in my own writing. Sometimes I wrote ‘wild type’ and other times I wrote ‘wild-type’. So, which one should I use?


The answer is quite simple: it depends on the usage. ‘Wild type’ is a noun and ‘wild-type’ is an adjective (a word describing a noun). I have included a few examples below to further clear up this question.


The wild type localized to the nucleus where as the mutant localized to the endoplasmic reticulum.


We hypothesized that the wild-type protein would efflux more of drug X than the mutant protein.


P.S. All of the ‘wild types’ in my manuscript were adjectives! I had to go back and add the hyphen.