• mutation
  • A change in the chemical constitution of the DNA in the chromosomes of an organism: the changes are normally restricted to individual genes, but occasionally involve serious alteration to whole chromosomes. When a mutation occurs in gametes or gametocytes an inherited change may be produced in the characteristics of the organisms that develop from them. Mutation is one of the ways in which genetic variation is produced in organisms. A somatic mutation is one that occurs to a body cell, and is consequently past on to all the cells derived from it by mitosis. Natural mutations, at this stage of biological evolution, when they occur in the cells of higher animals, almost always produce deleterious characteristics. Both natural and artificial mutations can be brought about by ionizing radiation (hence the genetic and carcinogenic dangers of nuclear weapons) and by certain chemical substances called mutagens.
Abstract from DBPedia
    In biology, a mutation is an alteration in the nucleic acid sequence of the genome of an organism, virus, or extrachromosomal DNA. Viral genomes contain either DNA or RNA. Mutations result from errors during DNA or viral replication, mitosis, or meiosis or other types of damage to DNA (such as pyrimidine dimers caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation), which then may undergo error-prone repair (especially microhomology-mediated end joining), cause an error during other forms of repair, or cause an error during replication (translesion synthesis). Mutations may also result from insertion or deletion of segments of DNA due to mobile genetic elements. Mutations may or may not produce detectable changes in the observable characteristics (phenotype) of an organism. Mutations play a part in both normal and abnormal biological processes including: evolution, cancer, and the development of the immune system, including junctional diversity. Mutation is the ultimate source of all genetic variation, providing the raw material on which evolutionary forces such as natural selection can act. Mutation can result in many different types of change in sequences. Mutations in genes can have no effect, alter the product of a gene, or prevent the gene from functioning properly or completely. Mutations can also occur in non-genic regions. A 2007 study on genetic variations between different species of Drosophila suggested that, if a mutation changes a protein produced by a gene, the result is likely to be harmful, with an estimated 70% of amino acid polymorphisms that have damaging effects, and the remainder being either neutral or marginally beneficial. Due to the damaging effects that mutations can have on genes, organisms have mechanisms such as DNA repair to prevent or correct mutations by reverting the mutated sequence back to its original state.

    突然変異(とつぜんへんい、英: Mutation)とは、生物やウイルスがもつ遺伝物質の質的・量的変化。及び、その変化によって生じる状態。 核・葉緑体において、DNA、あるいはRNA上の塩基配列に物理的変化が生じることを遺伝子突然変異という。染色体の数や構造に変化が生じることを染色体突然変異という。 細胞や個体のレベルでは、突然変異により表現型が変化する場合があるが、必ずしも常に表現型に変化が現れるわけではない。また、多細胞生物の場合、突然変異は生殖細胞で発生しなければ、次世代には遺伝しない。 表現型に変異が生じた細胞または個体は突然変異体(ミュータント、mutant)と呼ばれ、変異を起こす物理的・化学的な要因は変異原(ミュータゲン)という。個体レベルでは、発癌や機能不全などの原因となる場合がある。しかし集団レベルでみれば、突然変異によって新しい機能をもった個体が生み出されるので、進化の原動力ともいえる。 英語やドイツ語ではそれぞれミューテーション、ムタチオン、と呼び、この語は「変化」を意味するラテン語に由来する。