The genetic material of an organism (be it DNA or RNA1) may be damaged during growth by factors in its external or internal environment. A heritable change that permanently affects the chromosome, termed a mutation, results in an altered, mutant organism. Mutations in a particular gene give rise to a number of different alleles of that gene; these homologues may differ in one or more nucleotide pairs. The selective advantage that any one allele imparts to the mutant strain allows its preferential survival. Non-lethal chromosomal lesions (see below) are the source of genetic variation and, thus, provide the basis for evolution.
KeywordsFrameshift Mutation Genetic Lesion Base Analogue Nonsense Suppression Nonsense Codon
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