Show Advanced Search

REFINE YOUR SEARCH:

Containing Text
- - -
+
Filter by author or institution
GO
Filter by publication date
From:
October, 2006
Until:
Today
Filter by journal section

Filter by science education

 
 
Mutation: Any detectable and heritable change in the genetic material that causes a change in the Genotype and which is transmitted to daughter cells and to succeeding generations.

Mutation, Gene Flow, and Genetic Drift

JoVE 10964

In a population that is not at Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, the frequency of alleles changes over time. Therefore, any deviations from the five conditions of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium can alter the genetic variation of a given population. Conditions that change the genetic variability of a population include mutations, natural selection, non-random mating, gene flow, and genetic drift (small population size). The original sources of genetic variation are mutations, which are changes in the nucleotide sequence of DNA. Mutations create new alleles and increase genetic variability. Most mutations do not cause significant changes to the health or functioning of an organism. However, if a mutation reduces the chances of survival, the organism may die before reproducing. Therefore, such harmful mutations are likely to be eliminated by natural selection. Individuals in natural populations may also select their mates based on certain characteristics, and thus do not reproduce randomly. In this case, alleles for the traits that are selected against will become less frequent in the population. Furthermore, populations can experience gene flow, the transfer of alleles into and out of gene pools, due to migration. A classic example of gene flow is observed in most baboon species. Female baboons mate most frequently with dominant males in a troop. Juvenile ma

 Core: Biology

X-linked Traits

JoVE 10980

In most mammalian species, females have two X sex chromosomes and males have an X and Y. As a result, mutations on the X chromosome in females may be masked by the presence of a normal allele on the second X. In contrast, a mutation on the X chromosome in males more often causes observable biological defects, as there is no normal X to compensate. Trait variations arising from mutations on the X chromosome are called “X-linked”. One well-studied example of an X-linked trait is color blindness. When a mutation occurs in the genes responsible for red and green color vision in the photoreceptors of the retina, color blindness may occur. While this recessive mutation can cause females to be color blind, they must possess two mutated X chromosomes. Color blindness is much more common in males, who only have one X chromosome and therefore no second copy to potentially compensate for the mutation. Color blindness is passed from mother to son; a mutated X will be passed from the mother to half of her sons, who receive a Y from their father. Meanwhile, colorblind males will pass on the allele for color blindness to all of their daughters, who will be either carriers or color blind, depending on the maternal allele received. Occasionally, this type of X-linked mutation can also arise by spontaneous mutation and not as the result of inheritance from mother o

 Core: Biology

Mutations

JoVE 10793

Mutations are changes in the sequence of DNA. These changes can occur spontaneously or they can be induced by exposure to environmental factors. Mutations can be characterized in a number of different ways: whether and how they alter the amino acid sequence of the protein, whether they occur over a small or large area of DNA, and whether they occur in somatic cells or germline cells.

Mutations that occur at a single nucleotide are called point mutations. When point mutations occur within genes, the consequences can vary in severity depending on what happens to the encoded amino acid sequence. A silent mutation does not change the amino acid identity and will have no effect on an organism. A missense mutation changes a single amino acid, and the effects might be serious if the change alters the function of the protein. A nonsense mutation produces a stop codon that truncates the protein, likely rendering it nonfunctional. Frameshift mutations occur when one or more nucleotides are inserted into or deleted from a protein-coding DNA sequence, affecting all of the codons downstream of the location of the mutation. The most drastic type of mutation, chromosomal alteration, changes the physical structure of a chromosome. Chromosomal alterations can include deletion, duplication, or inversion of large stretches of DNA within a single chromosome, or integration o

 Core: Biology

Sex-linked Disorders

JoVE 10981

Like autosomes, sex chromosomes contain a variety of genes necessary for normal body function. When a mutation in one of these genes results in biological deficits, the disorder is considered sex-linked.

Y chromosome mutations are called “Y-linked” and only affect males since they alone carry a copy of that chromosome. Mutations to the relatively small Y chromosome can impact male sexual function and secondary sex characteristics. Y-chromosome infertility is a disorder that affects sperm production, caused by deletions to the azoospermia factor (AZF) regions of the Y chromosome. In general, Y-linked disorders are only passed from father to son; however, because affected males typically do not father children without assisted reproductive technologies, Y-chromosome infertility is not typically passed on to offspring. X-linked disorders can be either dominant or recessive. X-linked dominant disorders are the result of a mutation to the X chromosome that can affect either males or females. However, some disorders, including Fragile X syndrome, affect males more severely than females, likely because males do not have a second, normal copy of the X chromosome. Fragile X syndrome is characterized by a wide range of developmental problems, including learning disabilities. X-linked hypophosphatemia is another X-linked dominant condition that manifes

 Core: Biology

RNA Splicing

JoVE 10802

The process in which eukaryotic RNA is edited prior to protein translation is called splicing. It removes regions that do not code for proteins and patches the protein-coding regions together. Splicing also allows several protein variants to be expressed from a single gene and plays an essential role in development, tissue differentiation, and adaptation to environmental stress. Errors in splicing can lead to diseases such as cancer. The RNA strand transcribed from eukaryotic DNA is called the primary transcript. The primary transcripts designated to become mRNA are called precursor messenger RNA (pre-mRNA). The pre-mRNA is then processed to form mature mRNA that is suitable for protein translation. Eukaryotic pre-mRNA contains alternating sequences of exons and introns. Exons are nucleotide sequences that code for proteins whereas introns are the non-coding regions. RNA splicing is the process by which introns are removed and exons patched together. Splicing is mediated by the spliceosome—a complex of proteins and RNA called small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs). The spliceosome recognizes specific nucleotide sequences at exon/intron boundaries. First, it binds to a GU-containing sequence at the 5’ end of the intron and to a branch point sequence containing an A towards the 3’ end of the intron. In a number of carefully-orches

 Core: Biology

Viral Mutations

JoVE 10827

A mutation is a change in the sequence of bases of DNA or RNA in a genome. Some mutations occur during replication of the genome due to errors made by the polymerase enzymes that replicate DNA or RNA. Unlike DNA polymerase, RNA polymerase is prone to errors because it is not capable of “proofreading” its work. Viruses with RNA-based genomes, like HIV, therefore accrue mutations faster than viruses with DNA-based genomes. Because mutation and recombination provide the raw material for adaptive evolution, RNA-based viruses can quickly evolve resistance to antiviral drugs. A major goal in modern biology is to reveal evolutionary history by comparing genome sequences. An important practical application of these analyses is the study of evolution in disease-causing viruses. Genome sequencing has become so rapid and inexpensive that it is now possible to investigate the origins and ongoing evolution of viruses during a disease outbreak. For example, in 2013, a new strain of avian influenza called H7N9 emerged in China that caused severe respiratory illness in humans. By comparing the mutations in viruses isolated from humans and several bird species, researchers were able to show that the ancestor of this flu strain probably originated in Chinese domestic duck populations before it was transmitted to chickens. The ancestral strain subsequently re

 Core: Biology

PCR

JoVE 10819

The polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, is a widely used technique for copying segments of DNA. Due to exponential amplification, PCR can produce millions or billions of DNA copies within just a few hours. In a PCR reaction, a heat-resistant DNA polymerase enzyme amplifies the original DNA through a series of temperature changes inside an automated machine called a thermocycler.

Kary Mullis developed PCR in 1983, for which he was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Being a relatively fast, inexpensive, and precise way of copying a DNA sequence, PCR became an invaluable tool for numerous applications, including molecular cloning, gene mutagenesis, pathogen detection, gene expression analysis, DNA quantitation and sequencing, and genetic disease diagnosis. PCR mimics the natural DNA replication process that occurs in cells. The reaction mixture includes a template DNA sequence to be copied, a pair of short DNA molecules called primers, free DNA building blocks called deoxynucleotide triphosphates (dNTPs), and a specialized DNA polymerase enzyme. PCR involves a series of steps at high temperatures, requiring a DNA polymerase enzyme that is functional at such temperatures. The most commonly used DNA polymerase is Taq polymerase, named after Thermus aquaticus, the bacterium from which the polymerase was initially isolated. DNA

 Core: Biology
123456789100
More Results...