Some mutations lead to benefits such as increased immune health or play an important role in evolution, while others cause serious health problems, like cancer. Many mutations occur in noncoding DNA and are completely neutral.Continue Reading
A mutation is a permanent change to DNA. These changes occur when DNA repair mechanisms fail to repair damage, when DNA replicates incorrectly, or from the deletion or insertion of DNA segments. Some mutations occur within the lifetime of a single organism. These somatic mutations involve direct damage to an organism's DNA from an environmental source. For example, damage from ultraviolet rays damages DNA in a way that gives rise to cancerous cells.
Other mutations are heritable and pass from one generation to another. One particular heritable mutation causes a deletion of 32 base pairs affecting the human CCR5 protein. Research suggests that people with this gene possess immunity to bubonic plague or smallpox, a very beneficial mutation to people at various periods in human history. Because of higher survival rates of people with the CCR5 mutation, the mutation persists into the present day. For modern humans, a CCR5 mutation means resistance to HIV.
Mistakes occur constantly during the replication, translation and transcription of DNA. Fortunately, nearly 98 percent of human DNA is noncoding DNA with no apparent function and mutations in noncoding DNA have no effect.Learn more about Molecular Biology & DNA
Mate selectivity, movement of individuals between populations, small populations, mutations and natural selection can all disrupt genetic equilibrium. In the absence of these factors, the frequencies of genetic traits in a population remain about the same over time, and the species do not evolve.Full Answer >
Translocation mutations take place when a portion of a chromosome is relocated. The genes from one chromosome can move to another position on the same chromosome; alternatively, they can become incorporated into a different chromosome.Full Answer >
Some examples of chromosomal mutations are a change of pigment in flowers and change of fur patterns in mammals compared to general population, and sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis in humans. On the level of a DNA molecule, examples of chromosomal mutations are substitution, insertion, deletion and frameshift.Full Answer >
A missense mutation occurs when a gene is altered in a way that results in a different amino acid being substituted for the one originally coded. The change of a single nucleotide base can change the type of amino acid inserted into a protein.Full Answer >