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Mutation

Mutational Errors In Dna, Causes Of Mutation, Mutation And Evolution

A mutation is the alteration in the composition in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Mutations that are inherited can change the character of a species. Living organisms rely upon change as a means of adapting to new environments or conditions. Change is a crucial survival mechanism. Evolution hinges on the appearance and inheritance of mutations. Mutations are the source of genetic variation in humans and other life forms, and are a feature of all life, from microorganisms to humans.

Mutation involves a change in one or more of the constituents of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Because DNA provides the blueprint of an organism's operation and appearance, a genetic change in DNA will be evident as a change in an organism's appearance, behavior, or health. Mutated offspring can be quite different in appearance from their parents. For example, a mutation in the gene that determines the production of skin pigment can produce the fair skin, white hair, and eye difficulties that are characteristics of albinism. Dwarfs are an example of a mutation that affects growth hormones.

Mutations can be harmful or can be beneficial. If harmful, the mutation will be selected out over time. The beneficial mutations will be retained. The change in a species over time is the underpinning of evolution.


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