(1) An act of mutating process through changing the nucleotide sequence of a gene or a chromosome
(2) The origin and development of a genetic mutation
Mutagenesis refers to the origin and development of a genetic mutation. It is also about the act or the process in which the nucleotide sequence of the gene or the chromosome changes, resulting in a mutation. Mutagenesis occurs naturally or spontaneously, i.e. by spontaneous hydrolysis. It also occurs as a result of errors in replication or repair. It may also be induced by exposing to mutagens experimentally.
The advantage of mutagenesis is it drives the evolution. Variation in genes is essential to promote diverse gene pool. When variation in genes is limited, there is a possibility of inheriting and expressing recessive genes with less desirable characteristics. Nevertheless, mutagenesis can also promote cancer and certain heritable diseases.
Mutagenesis as a scientific discipline was developed from the works of Hermann Muller, Charlotte Auerbach and J. M. Robson in the first half of the 20th century.1
1 Beale, G. (1993). “The Discovery of Mustard Gas Mutagenesis by Auerbach and Robson in 1941”
. Genetics. 134 (2): 393–399.