News tagged with gene mutation
Human intelligence and behavior require optimal functioning of a large number of genes, which requires enormous evolutionary pressures to maintain. A provocative hypothesis published in a recent set of Science and Society ...
Genetics Nov 12, 2012 | 3.8 / 5 (37) | 78 |
A new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, represents a major advance in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind aging while providing new hope for the development of targeted treatments ...
Medical research Jan 31, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (17) | 6 |
Many of the body's processes follow a natural daily rhythm or so-called circadian clock. There are certain times of the day when a person is most alert, when blood pressure is highest, and when the heart is most efficient. ...
Genetics Nov 16, 2012 | 4.5 / 5 (8) | 3 |
(Medical Xpress)—Approximately 90 percent of cancers start within tissues that form the inner linings of various organs. Decades of accumulated genetic mutations can, on occasion, induce cells specialized ...
Cancer May 08, 2013 | 5 / 5 (7) | 0 |
Although schizophrenia is highly genetic in origin, the genes involved in the disorder have been difficult to identify. In the past few years, researchers have implicated several genes, but it is unclear how they act to produce ...
Neuroscience Nov 11, 2012 | 4.3 / 5 (8) | 1 |
(Medical Xpress) -- As the Earth's human population has skyrocketed since the rise of agriculture some 10,000 years ago -- to 7 billion people from a few million -- so, too, has the number of rare genetic variants.
Genetics May 11, 2012 | 4.7 / 5 (7) | 1 |
Scientists led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified the first gene directly linked to the most common form of psoriasis, a chronic skin condition.
Genetics Apr 19, 2012 | 5 / 5 (5) | 0 |
Some diseases are caused by single gene mutations. Current techniques for identifying the disease-causing gene in a patient produce hundreds of potential gene candidates, making it difficult for scientists to pinpoint the ...
Genetics Mar 18, 2013 | 5 / 5 (5) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress) -- Yale Cancer Center geneticists, biochemists, and structural biologists have painted the most comprehensive picture yet of the molecular landscape of melanoma, a highly aggressive and often ...
Genetics Jul 29, 2012 | 5 / 5 (4) | 0 |
Scientists are beginning to understand one of life's enduring mysteries - why women live, on average, longer than men.
Genetics Aug 02, 2012 | 5 / 5 (4) | 0 |
For the first time, Wisconsin researchers have taken skin from patients and, using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, turned them into a laboratory model for an inherited type of macular degeneration.
Genetics Nov 08, 2012 | 5 / 5 (4) | 0 |
Vision scientists long have thought that lack of very long chain fatty acids in photoreceptor cells caused blindness in children with Stargardt type 3 retinal degeneration, an incurable eye disease. But researchers at the ...
Ophthalmology Mar 11, 2013 | 5 / 5 (4) | 0 |
A huge international effort involving more than 100 institutions and genetic tests on 200,000 people has uncovered dozens of signposts in DNA that can help reveal further a person's risk for breast, ovarian ...
Genetics Mar 27, 2013 | 5 / 5 (4) | 1
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists and colleagues have discovered that pancreatic cancer cells' growth and spread are fueled by an unusual metabolic pathway that someday might be blocked with targeted drugs to control ...
Cancer Mar 27, 2013 | 5 / 5 (4) | 0 |
Johns Hopkins scientists say they have evidence from animal studies that a type of central nervous system cell other than motor neurons plays a fundamental role in the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a ...
Neuroscience Mar 31, 2013 | 5 / 5 (4) | 0 |
In biology, mutations are changes to the nucleotide sequence of the genetic material of an organism. Mutations can be caused by copying errors in the genetic material during cell division, by exposure to ultraviolet or ionizing radiation, chemical mutagens, or viruses, or can be induced by the organism itself, by cellular processes such as hypermutation. In multicellular organisms with dedicated reproductive cells, mutations can be subdivided into germ line mutations, which can be passed on to descendants through the reproductive cells, and somatic mutations, which involve cells outside the dedicated reproductive group and which are not usually transmitted to descendants. If the organism can reproduce asexually through mechanisms such as cuttings or budding the distinction can become blurred. For example, plants can sometimes transmit somatic mutations to their descendants asexually or sexually where flower buds develop in somatically mutated parts of plants. A new mutation that was not inherited from either parent is called a de novo mutation. The source of the mutation is unrelated to the consequence, although the consequences are related to which cells were mutated.
Mutations create variation within the gene pool. Less favorable (or deleterious) mutations can be reduced in frequency in the gene pool by natural selection, while more favorable (beneficial or advantageous) mutations may accumulate and result in adaptive evolutionary changes. For example, a butterfly may produce offspring with new mutations. The majority of these mutations will have no effect; but one might change the color of one of the butterfly's offspring, making it harder (or easier) for predators to see. If this color change is advantageous, the chance of this butterfly surviving and producing its own offspring are a little better, and over time the number of butterflies with this mutation may form a larger percentage of the population.
Neutral mutations are defined as mutations whose effects do not influence the fitness of an individual. These can accumulate over time due to genetic drift. It is believed that the overwhelming majority of mutations have no significant effect on an organism's fitness. Also, DNA repair mechanisms are able to mend most changes before they become permanent mutations, and many organisms have mechanisms for eliminating otherwise permanently mutated somatic cells.
Mutation is generally accepted by the scientific community as the mechanism upon which natural selection acts, providing the advantageous new traits that survive and multiply in offspring or disadvantageous traits that die out with weaker organisms.
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