Two classes of mutations are spontaneous mutations (molecular decay) and induced mutations caused by mutagens. In molecular biology and genetics, mutations are changes in a genomic sequence : the DNA sequence of a cell's genome or the DNA or RNA sequence of a virus.

They can be defined as sudden and spontaneous changes in the cell. Mutations are caused by radiation, viruses, transposons and mutagenic chemicals, as well as errors that occur during meiosis or DNA replication. They can also be induced by the organism itself, by cellular processes such as hyper mutation.

Mutation can result in several different types of change in sequences (DNA) these can either have no effect, alter the product of a gene, or prevent the gene from functioning properly or completely. Studies in the fly Drosophila melanogaster suggest that if a mutation changes a protein produced by a gene, this will probably be harmful, with about 70 percent of these mutations having damaging effects, and the remainder being either neutral or weakly beneficial. Due to the damaging effects that mutations can have on genes, organisms have mechanisms such as DNA repair to remove mutations.

Viruses that use RNA as their genetic material have rapid mutation rates, which can be an advantage since these viruses will evolve constantly and rapidly, and thus evade the defensive responses of e.g. the human immune system.

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mutation said...

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