A frameshift mutation occurs in a sex cell of an adult otter The is found on gene that produces proteins used to build bones. What describes the most likely effect of this mutation?

2 Answers
Dec 26, 2016

The bones will not be built or not built correctly.


Like all known mutations this will result in the loss of function.
The genes involved in the frameshift mutation will lose function. The proteins that the genes are suppose to produce will lose function.

Sometimes the loss of function of the genes and proteins can result in an adaptive advantage. Examples of this would be bacteria losing function in proteins that result in resistance to antibiotics. Anther example would resistance to malaria due to a mutation in the proteins that produce red blood cells. This causes a disease called cycle cell anemia but products against malaria.

Dec 26, 2016

Frameshift mutations are known to drastically change protein strocture and functions. The adult otter will not be affected at all as the mutation is in its sex cell, not in its somatic cells; but the progeny may become affected.


One important clue is not disclosed in the question, whether the mutation is dominant or recessive. As the mutation is in sex cells, the mutation would definitely be inherited by progeny.

If the mutation is a recessive allele, then the progeny would not be affected as the corresponding normal allele from other parent would allow growth of normal bony skeleton.

In case the mutated allele is dominant, then the progeny will be adversely affected. In mammals skeletal pieces are first laid in the form of cartilage, later these become mineralised. Mineralisation of skeleton will not occur in embryonic condition due to loss of function of protein related to bone development. I think such a 'no bone' otter would die soon after birth due to growth related complications.