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The Study of Genetics

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Mistakes in Genetics
     Genetics are passed down from parent to offspring. But sometimes things may go wrong. Any changes in the genetic material, or DNA is called a mutation. Scientists don't know what causes all mutations, but they  know what some causes of mutations are. Genetic mutations lead to Genetic Disorders--some of these disorders are lethal. This particular page talks about mutations and genetic disorders.

     Mutations occur when something alters the DNA to cause a change in gentic composition. On many occasions, mutations have been fatal. Sometimes they can be easily cured. When a mutation occurs that is beneficial, it is known as evolution. Mutations are both good and bad.

      Many things can cause mutations. One of the possibilities is a DNA replication error. Others can be caused by diseases, or environmental factors. Others include Radiation, and the EM spectrum. Many people don’t realize that their televisions, microwave, and even their radio can cause a mutation.      

One myth about mutations is that they are always bad. In reality, mutations keep us alive. Mutations that are useful are passed to the next generation. Mutations that are bad may cause the person or animal to die, but it won’t be carried on to the next generation. Overall, mutations are life’s way to ensure that all organisms survive, no matter where they live. Also, it’s impossible to stop mutations.


Point Mutations

     Each gene is made up of a sequence of nucleotides, which are paired into groups of three. In some mutations, there is an extra nucleotide, or a missing one. Thus, the whole gene will be altered. An example of this mutation is Sickle Cell Disease, which changes the shape of blood cells.
Induced Mutations & Causes of Mutations
     Mutations can be induced by ultraviolet light, radiation, dramatic changes in temperature, or coming in contact with harmful chemicals, such as sulfur.
Mutation and Evolution
     Hugo deVries made a discovery in 1901. He developed a theory that mutations and evolution intertwine. He said that some characteristics (changes) can be inherited by birth. He believed that evolution resulted from a gradual selection of favorable characteristics. This goes along with Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Throughout the world there are different environments. Sometimes mutations will help some birds live to the best comfort in their habitat.