Repair and Induction of Chromosome Aberrations and Point Mutations in Mammalian Somatic Cells: A Summary and Perspective
It is now somewhat over 50 years since the discovery of the first agent, x-rays, with which we were able to “transmutate” the gene. This discovery, which allowed us to obtain genetic variants, was invaluable in enabling us to gain insights about the organization of genetic material. From the first it was noted that the mutations seemed to fall into two classes, those that were changes in the gene itself, so-called point mutations, and those that were the result of gross chromosomal changes, including deletions. One particular point of controversy concerned whether or not spontaneous mutations were “gene” mutations, whereas radiation-induced mutations were mainly chromosomal. Largely because the gene was an abstraction in the sense that its chemical nature was unknown, the problem was intractable.
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