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Regina Bailey

Human Gene Mutations

By November 30, 2012

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Image Credit: Jane Ades, NHGRI

A study of the genetic code has led genetics experts to conclude that almost three-fourths of human gene mutations have occurred within the past five thousand to ten thousand years. Genes are segments of DNA located on chromosomes. They provide the instructions for the production of proteins. Gene mutations cause changes in the genetic code that lead to genetic variation. Some of these mutations have the potential to promote disease development.

According to researcher, Dr. Suzanne Leal, "One of the most interesting points is that Europeans have more new deleterious (potentially disease-causing) mutations than Africans. Having so many of these new variants can be partially explained by the population explosion in the European population." The researchers discovered that eighty-six percent of mutations that are anticipated to be damaging appeared in European-Americans in the last five thousand years.

Learn more about this study, see:


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