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DNA and Mutations
by the Understanding Evolution team

A mutation is a change in DNA, the hereditary material of life. An organism's DNA affects how it looks, how it behaves, and its physiology. So a change in an organism's DNA can cause changes in all aspects of its life.

mutation Mutations are essential to evolution; they are the raw material of genetic variation. Without mutation, evolution could not occur. In this tutorial, we’ll explore:



In this article, we will explore these key questions:
  • How does DNA encode the characteristics of an organism?

  • In what different ways can mutations affect an organism?

  • How can a simple mutation end up having a major effect on the phenotype of an organism?

  • What does it mean to say that mutations are random?




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DNA: The molecular basis of mutations


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