What Are Mutations?

In Latin, mutation means change. When talking about mutations in genetics we talk about the change in the DNA sequence. This can happen in many ways – a nucleotide can be inserted into the sequence, it can be deleted or simply substituted by another one. We call such a substitution a SNP. All SNPs were thus created by some mutation. If a mutation occurs in a certain gene, the gene can become inactive (it does not make the correct proteins) or, rarely, make a new and better protein. In this way, an organism with a different trait is created, having a selective advantage for survival. Thus, mutations are DNA “errors” which appear by chance, and at the same time represent the engine of evolution.