Mutations – changes to the genetic code. They change the sequence of DNA bases which could stop the production of a protein, or it might mean that a different protein is produced instead. This can lead to new characteristics, increasing variation.
- They can happen spontaneously – when a chromosome doesn’t copy itself properly
- But the chance of mutation is increased by exposing yourself to:
1) Ionising radiation, e.g. X-rays, gamma rays or ultraviolet light
2) Chemicals called mutagens, e.g. chemicals in tobacco
(If the mutations cause cancer then…