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What is a mutation A mutation as defined by the dictionary is a sudden change in a heritable characteristic There a several things that can cause a mutation in someones or somethings body A genetic mutation is what causes mutations in an animal or human To understand what a genetic mutation is and why it occurs you would have to first understand the basics of DNA including its structure However since not everybody has the time to study DNA to learn about genetic mutations I will try to break it down and explain genetic mutations as thoroughly as possible First I will give you a little background on the history of genetic mutations Genetic mutations were first reported in 1901 by Hugo De Vries a Dutch botanist In 1929 an American biologist named Hermann Joseph Muller discovered that the rate of genetic mutations can be increases by X rays Later it was discovered that other forms of radiation high temperatures and various chemicals also caused mutations Another cause of genetic mutation that has been discovered is inbreeding An example of inbreeding is when a cousin and another cousin have a child Next I will try to explain how DNA is structured The backbone of the DNA chain is composed of alternating sugar and phosphate groups In each sugar group there is one of four nitrogenous bases adenine A guanine G thymine T or cytosine C Each DNA molecule is made up of two chains which are linked together by bonds between the bases of one chain and another An A base is always bonded to a T and every G base is paired with a C The way the bases are arranged determines the genetic code of an organism The genetic code then directs the synthesis of proteins at a cellular level it is written in units called codons Each codon specifies a particular amino acid Each codon is made up of a sequence
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