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Mutation | Types, Cause, and Effect

Updated on September 10, 2009


Tired of all these mutation? see below, you will find out that mutation can also be fun

What is mutation ?


What is a mutation? When you hear a word of mutation, perhaps it will remind you of X-men and other marvel heroes. Shooting X-ray, breezing icy breath, or maybe psychic barrier? You might also know Peter Parker who’s mutated into a spider guy after being bitten by a spider. Then ZAP! He jumps up and throws spider webs everywhere, and takes a leap to where ever he wants. It seems fun. But well, that’s fiction. In this case, such kind of mutation does not exist. Perhaps it will, someday. But the process won’t be that easy.

            Mutation is a change that occurs in a genetic substance (DNA or RNA). It may happen, both in Gene level (Gene Mutation) and Chromosome level (Chromosome Mutation). The process is called Mutagenesis. When an organism or individual life is mutated, then you might call it a Mutant. Mutation occurs silently. You wouldn’t know if someone is a mutant, since sometimes genetic changes (mutation) do happen but is not expressed. I will explain it to you later in the deep. Sure you also know that mutation won’t occur by it self – it needs something to change the genetic substances. Just like Spiderman who is mutated by a spider bite or daredevil who is increased in hearing by a chemical thing – in order to mutate, a “chemical X” is needed. Everything that may cause mutation to occur, that is called by Mutating Agents or Mutagens. Generally, there are 3 types of mutagens:

1)      Chemical Mutagens

Example: nicotine, pesticides, methane, and many others

2)      Physics Mutagens

Example: Ultraviolet ray, radioactive, over high temperature

3)      Bio Mutagens

Example: Bacteria and virus


            As I have said early on this page, mutation may occur in Gene level and also Chromosome level. Gene Mutation is a change in chain structure of DNA and gene, so that the amino acid order is swapped, or exchanged, and may result in a different protein produced.  In this case, not all mutation may cause disease. This is because each amino acid has two or more codons (genetic codes). A single base substitution won’t make any different if it results in the same amino acid. This is why I said before, that we might not know if we’re a mutant. This kind of mutation, we’ll never know if it has occurred in our gene, since it’s not wrongly expressed. When gene mutation results in a different amino acid produced, well, that’s what I called a problem. For example is Sickle Cell. Sickle Cell disease may occur if a single base substitution leads to the production of Valine instead of Glutamine. This caused a production of abnormal sickle shaped red blood which may obstruct and restrict blood flow to an organ, leading to pain and often organ damage.

            While gene mutation does not always resulting in diseases, a chromosome mutation always does. Chromosome mutation is a change in either number or structure of chromosome. Since a chromosome contains a lot of genes, of course a change in its whole structure may result in wrong expression. Chromosome mutation most likely happen because of meiosis failure There are 2 groups of chromosome mutation, based on changes in number:

1)      Euploidy

Changes occur in whole set of chromosome, and involve all pairs of chromosome. Usually organisms and also humans, have 2 chromosomes in each pairs that we called it Diploid (2n). In euploidy, there is a change of chromosome’s number in all pairs (affect the whole set). It may become monoploid (n), triploid (3n), tetraploid (4n), and even hexaploid (6n). If the cells have chromosome set above 3n, then it may be called Polyploidy.

Based on the origin of chromosome, there are 2 types of polyploidy:

a)                          Autopolyploid: Self doubling, caused by disturbances in meiosis. Only occur in homologues chromosome

b)                          Allopolyploid: Hybridization between two species which have different set of chromosome.

2)      Aneuploidy

Changes occur by addition or deletion of some chromosomes, involve some pairs of chromosome. It is also usually known as Aneusomy. This kind of Chromosome mutation doesn’t involve all genomes, but only occur in one chromosome of a genome.

There are several types of Aneuploidy:

a)      Monosomy (2n-1): losing 1 chromosome

b)      Nullisomy (2n-2): losing 2 chromosome

c)      Triosomy (2n+1): gaining 1 extra chromosome

d)      Tetrasomy (2n+2): gaining 2 extra chromosome

Aneuploidy may be caused by two things, anaphase lag and non-disjunction. Anaphase lag is an event when spindle do not stick into the centromere in anaphase at first meiosis. Non-disjunction is a failure of chromosome separation during cell division. In this case, we can see that non-disjunction has become a major cause of mutation, especially in chromosome mutation.


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    • profile image

      Da Fuzz 3 years ago

      Hi! Thanks for the post, only decent site that I could find. But, give more info on the effects and causes. Also how it can benefit and be harmful. Plus, please give examples to help readers(like me) understand it better.

      And do you write about other things like virus, cells, chemicals, and the periodic table of elements?


      -Da Fuzz

    • profile image

      bimbo 3 years ago

      I need to Know more about the effects of mutation

    • profile image

      Danny_brown 3 years ago

      I still nt understand the causes and the effect of this mutation in human body

    • profile image

      fizaali 4 years ago

      out standine and easy to understand

    • profile image

      malik 4 years ago

      i neeb more about physical mutagen

    • profile image

      khairat 4 years ago

      Please give more explanation on couses of mutation,effects,beneficial,and harmful mutation.thank you!

    • profile image

      hellokitty tintin cute roleda 5 years ago

      your so cool... thanks dhil alam ko nah ang ibigsabihin ng mutation..

    • profile image

      gepke warham 5 years ago

      Comment by Gepke: Mutagens originating in Chemistry, Physics and ....sciences have been and still are used in warfare, in agriculture and in political experiments on populations.

      The reverse of mutation is difficult in healing processes. Those organisations causing the practice of mutations / the production of hurtful mutagens must be held responsible at all costs.

      A challenge to mankind is to arrest all poisonous practices in order to restore the health of the living Earth and all that dwell therein.

    • profile image

      myra tot\ 5 years ago

      parang hindi namn maganda ?

    • pinkhawk profile image

      pinkhawk 5 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

      I'm now curious about mutation... ^_^! It could be exciting but at the same time scary...

    • profile image

      uroojy 5 years ago

      i need to knw about mutagen more

    • profile image

      sukanya mukherjee 5 years ago

      not satisfied, u hv mntion only 4types bt there r odr typs also:-(

    • profile image

      abdallah 5 years ago

      very nice

    • profile image

      Glory opara 5 years ago

      You need to elaborate more on types of mutagens

    • profile image

      reena rastogi 5 years ago

      I am satisfied

    • profile image

      Islamiyahh olalekan 6 years ago

      U need to explain the causes of mutation at length.,tnx...

    • profile image

      lil_khulet 6 years ago

      parang ndi naman!! :P

    • profile image

      Chukwu ezinne 6 years ago

      Elaborate more on gene mutation,causes and effect.

    • profile image

      fairy ferrer 6 years ago

      give me the cause and effect of mutation plss :))

    • profile image

      angel 6 years ago


    • profile image

      siva  7 years ago

      please give many more ......................

    • profile image

      tog 7 years ago

      I'm also not as such satisfied with your explanation because you even might not differentiate between the basic and ploidy level indicators

    • Kimberly Bunch profile image

      Kimberly Bunch 8 years ago from EAST WENATCHEE

      Thanks for posting. It is very interesting information.


    • profile image

      !~toTz~! 8 years ago

      im looking for examples ..

      the possible examples for real life .

      its only introduction .

    • profile image

      jerome 8 years ago

      im not satisfied with your work and discreption