Why and How Mutations Occur: DNA Mechanisms and Checks
In the scientific community, many people study the vast grounds of DNA. The study of this subject, while vast and commonly misunderstood, is of vital importance for human and the living kind. DNA, since it packs all of our information, is important for us to understand due to how necessary it is in our lives. When it comes to whether or not they work properly though, it is a whole different story. Almost all of the processes having to do with DNA in any way have some type of regulation or check point system in order to ensure that nothing goes awry. But as we all know, in life, things do not always go according to plan.
Mutations are about the biggest risk that people have that could possibly harm or change their DNA. There are several different kinds of mutations that can occur, and these all have different effects on the changes that occur because of them. However, it is important to understand that many times, these can be rectified. A number of systems and checks are set up to defend against such problems, such as DNA polymerase III, which will read DNA sequences to check for any mistakes. The list of mutations and what their effects are is almost endless as there can be any reason, they could be good or bad, and could happen in your DNA or something else.
If a DNA base is deleted, many things can occur. It can be replaced with a correct or incorrect base, it could be ignored and the DNA continues on, or it could be completely thrown out in order to avoid error. The same could happen if the error would cause some beneficial prospects for the organism. Bases can also be inserted, which is why the fact that there are so many triplet codons for amino acids is useful from an evolutionary standpoint. If one base is traded for another, but the other codons are the same, and the codon still happens to code for the same amino acid, then that is called a silent or sense mutation, since it can still form a functional amino acid as intended. However, other, more problematic mutations may not be so nice and clean cut, causing a totally different amino acid sequence, or an early START or STOP codon, messing with the entirety and integrity of the protein to be made.
Mutations; they can be good, bad or otherwise. They will always happen, and we will probably never be able to stop them. But understanding them may be the first step in a positive direction.