Genetic Mutations

Genetic Mutations

Mutations involving changes in the nucleotide

This page continues from the previous page investigating genetic mutations

Inversion of Genes

This is where the order of a particular order of genes are reversed as seen below

  • Normal chromosome un-altered
  • The connection between genes break and the sequence of these genes are reversed
  • The new sequence may not be viable to produce an organism, depending on which genes are reversed. Advantageous characteristics from this mutation are also possible

Translocation of Genes

This is where information from one of two homologous chromosomes breaks and binds to the other. Usually this sort of mutation is lethal

  • An un-altered pair of homologous chromosomes
  • Translocation of genes has resulted in some genes from one of the chromosomes attaching to the opposing chromosome

Alteration of a DNA Sequence

The previous examples of mutation have investigated changes at the chromosome level. The sequence of nucleotides on a DNA sequence are also susceptible to mutation.

  • Deletion
    Here, certain nucleotides are deleted, which affects the coding of proteins that use this DNA sequence. If for example, a gene coded for alanine, with a genetic sequence of C-G-G, and the cytosine nucleotide was deleted, then the alanine amino acid would not be able to be created, and any other amino acids that are supposed to be coded from this DNA sequence will also be unable to be produced because each successive nucleotide after the deleted nucleotide will be out of place.
  • Insertion
    Similar to the effects of deletion, where a nucleotide is inserted into a genetic sequence and therefore alters the chain thereafter. This alteration of a nucleotide sequence is known as frameshift
  • Inversion
    Where a particular nucleotide sequence is reversed, and is not as serious as the above mutations. This is because the nucleotides that have been reversed in order only affect a small portion of the sequence at large
  • Substitution
    A certain nucleotide is replaced with another, which will affect any amino acid to be synthesized from this sequence due to this change. If the gene is essential, i.e. for the coding of hemoglobin then the effects are serious, and organisms in this instance suffer from a condition called sickle cell anemia.

All of the genetic mutations looked at through the last 2 pages more or less have a negative impact and are undesired, however, in some cases they can prove advantageous.

Genetic mutations increase genetic diversity and therefore have an important part to play. They are also the reason many people inherit diseases.

The next tutorial looks at polyploidy, a type of mutation that affects the chromosome content of an organism, and also investigates the frequency of mutations and factors that play a part in this.

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