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Genetic Mutation

Genetic mutation can be referred to as changes that affect the nucleic acid. Nucleic acid forms the building blocks of DNA in the cellular organism while, in viruses, they are the building blocks of RNA.

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The primary occurrence of organism diversity is caused by mutation. Mutations involve change of genetic series at various levels and the possibility of varying results. As far as biological systems are concerned, the basic focus regarding mutation is whether it is heritable or not. For instance, there are mutations that only affect the individual that carries them. On the other hand, some mutations spread as far as affecting the carrier’s descendants. Furthermore, there are two factors that enable mutations to affect an individual’s offspring; one is the affected material of the hereditary while the other is when the cells that produce the next generation carry mutation.

Effects of Genetic Mutation

The effects of genetic mutation can be beneficial, neutral or harmful depending on the location. However, genetic mutations can cause a condition known as epistasis when they interact, hence, making it difficult to treat by altering their effects.

Difference between Inherited Mutations and Point Mutations

Point mutation is a mutation type that makes the single base nucleotide be replaced by another nucleotide that is of genetic material, either DNA or RNA. An individual affected by a point mutation is called a point mutant. Point mutation occurs in one point, and it takes place when the DNA replicates. The replication of the DNA is due to the creation of the coinciding strand as a result of a double-stranded DNA molecule creating two single-stranded molecules. Another cause of point mutation is ultra-violet light and light of higher frequency that are capable of ionizing electrons, hence, affecting the DNA. These are harmful to the DNA as they lead to breakage of both the single-stranded DNA and double-stranded DNA. Depending on the area of occurrence of amino acid sequence of protein, point mutation can affect the behavior and the production of the protein. For instance, if this mutation affects the area where transcriptional machinery binds protein, it affects the behavior of the transcription factors that bind the protein.

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Unlike the point mutation, inherited mutation affects the individual that carries it. The carrier of the inherited mutation can also pass these traits to its offspring and descendants. This type of mutation occurs in the cells that carry the genes of the next generation and the hereditary materials. Inherited mutation can be categorized depending on the area they mostly affect. Unlike the point mutation, most of the consequences of inherited mutation are harmful. For instance, most inherited mutations result to cancerous diseases such as breast cancer.

The technology explained in “Cracking Your Genetic Code” indicates that in years to come technology will be advanced to the level of reading and analyzing the structures of our DNA. It will provide more and accurate information that will be helpful in diagnosing, curing and preventing diseases.

In my opinion, technology advances has raised both ethical and moral questions. There is fear that personal medical treatment can fall in the wrong hands. In summary, scientific technologies, whether good or bad, cannot be given a cold shoulder. I, therefore, support utilizing the genetic mapping. It is not dangerous knowing our personal genome as there are chances of to prevent diseases as emphasized in the Nova video.

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