What are the causes of mutation?

1 Answer
May 27, 2017

Mutations result from errors during DNA replication or other types of damage to DNA. Such DNA may then undergo error prone repair or cause an error during replication.


Mutations may be caused by exposure to specific chemicals or radiation. These agents cause the DNA to break down.

Chemicals that change normal base pairing can generate mutations by
1) de aminating amino groups.
2) change a base by covalent modification
3) cause cross linking of DNA strands.

UV and X - Ray radiations can result in
1) DNA fragmentation
2) thymidine dimerisation
3) shift in the equilibrium of tautomeric forms of bases.

Mutations may also result from insertion or deletion of segments of DNA due to mobile genetic elements.

Mutations play a part in both normal and abnormal biological processes including evolution, cancer and the developement of the immune system including junctional diversity. Due to its damaging effects that mutations can have on genes, organisms have mechanisms such as DNA repair to prevent or correct mutations by reverting the mutual sequence back to its original state.