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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Help regarding mutations... ???
« on: April 09, 2010, 03:53:02 PM »
I'm having an argument on another forum about the role of mutation in evolution.

This guy is saying that all random genetic mutations are harmful, and is challenging me to produce an example of a beneficial mutation.

Would somebody please either give me an example of a beneficial mutation, or else a reason why the question is invalid.

Cheers,

Gnu.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2010, 04:05:03 PM »
Google produced this:
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/beneficial-mutation.html

Quote from: Ningthoujam Sandhyarani
Mutation is a permanent alteration in the nucleotide sequence of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). As a result of mutation, the amino acid sequence of proteins encoded by the stretch of DNA or gene is changed, which in turn, may alter the composition and/or function of body cells and tissues. Mutation is a major reason for variation in the genetic composition of a population or gene pool. In organisms, mutation can be caused due to cell division (mitosis and meiosis), exposure to mutagens (carcinogens), strong radiations and viruses.

Mutation in higher organisms is either somatic or germ-line. The former type refers to mutation in the body cells, which is not usually passed on to the offspring. Germ-line mutation occurs in the germ cells and is inherited by the offspring via the reproduction cells. Based on the long-term effects of mutation in the particular population, it can be categorized as beneficial (more favorable), deleterious (less favorable) and neutral mutations.

Beneficial Mutation

Beneficial mutation is retained in the population and accumulates in the form of adaptations in the course of evolution; whereas, deleterious ones are not retained and are removed by means of natural selection. Neutral mutation, on the other hand, does not cause significant effects in the population. Generally, neutral mutations are accumulated through genetic drift. The effects of mutation vary depending upon the environment. Let's take a look at some of the examples of beneficial mutation that promotes the fitness of the organisms.

Nylonase: Nylon Bacteria

Nylonase is an example of beneficial mutation in bacteria. The nylonase bacteria can eat short molecules of nylon (nylon-6). The mutation in these bacteria involves insertion of a single nucleotide in the genetic material. It is estimated that this frameshift mutation might have occurred in the 1940s when nylon was invented. Nylonase can be used in wastewater treatment plants.

Antibiotic Resistance: Bacteria

Antibiotics are used for treatment of diseases caused by bacteria. Constant use of antibiotics leads to the development of resistance among the targeted bacteria. Many a times, the antibiotic resistance reduces the fitness of the particular bacteria population when they are exposed to non-antibiotic environment. These resistant bacteria does not have the ability to reproduce as fast as those without mutation., hence slowing down the disease progression.

Gene Mutation: Almond Trees

Almond seeds from wild species contain amygdalin, a bitter chemical that converts into cyanide inside the human body. According to researchers, consuming wild almonds is fatal. A single gene mutation in wild almond trees resulted in a variety that no longer synthesizes amygdalin. When humans discovered this non-bitter almond species, they cultivated them, which is continued till today.

Murray Grey: A Breed of Beef Cattle

Murray Grey is a cattle breed, obtained accidentally from a traditional cow species. The calves produced by the specific cow were more productive than those produced by others. Farmers soon noticed the difference and started breeding from the offspring. This way, the Murray breed with some of the most positive characteristics have become popular all over Australia, which then spread to other countries.

CCR5-delta 32: HIV Immunity in Humans

Cysteine-cysteine chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) is a receptor molecule, located in the membranes of white blood cells (WBCs) and nerve cells. In a cell, CCR5 permits the entry of chemokines that signals the inflammatory response to any foreign particles. The gene responsible for coding CCR5 is present in the human chromosome 3. A mutation in this gene called CCR5-delta 32 (involving deletion of 32 base pairs) affects the normal functioning of the CCR5.

In the initial stages of HIV infection, the virus normally enters through CCR5. However, a mutated CCR5 blocks the entry of HIV virus. People carrying homozygous mutated CCR5-delta 32 are resistant to HIV, while heterozygous ones are beneficial, as it slows down the disease progression. Thus, CCR5-delta 32 provides partial or complete immunity to HIV. Similarly, it is a beneficial mutation against other chronic diseases.

Well! These are some examples of beneficial mutation. There is no doubt that some of the most productive plants and animals are evolved as a result of mutation. The effects of mutation is well explained by natural selection in which favorable changes remain in the population, while those harmful alterations are eliminated over a period of time.

 
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2010, 04:07:22 PM »
Before citing any of those, though, you might want to make sure he is clear about what he means by "beneficial".  There could be some serious goalpost-shifting otherwise.
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Offline pamindfw

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2010, 04:08:46 PM »
Jawbones and jaw muscles getting smaller, allowing for larger brain.

It appears that this process is continuing to this day.  More people are being born with fewer wisdom teeth buds.  I was born with only the two upper buds and not the two lower buds.

Can't find an article yet about the current trend, but I did find one about the general transition from our ancestors to humans involving smaller jaws and larger brains.  I haven't fully checked this article out, so read it before you use it.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=110&dat=20040325&id=8FsKAAAAIBAJ&sjid=00sDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6972,2304311

Anyway, hope this helps.
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Offline Ada-B

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2010, 04:52:01 PM »
A pale skin was a genetic mutation that enabled humans in Northern climes to produce sufficient vitamin D in their skin, in response to sparse sunlight. The development of lactase enzyme that persisted into adulthood was a mutation that enabled adult humans to eat dairy products - a useful source of protein and nutrients, particularly in climates that did not allow for sufficient vegetable sources of calcium and protein.
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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2010, 04:54:14 PM »
Thanks, guys.

Azd:
Quote
Before citing any of those, though, you might want to make sure he is clear about what he means by "beneficial".  
I think he means from the point of view of the individual mutant, with the implication that because of the mutation it will be favoured by natural selection and produce offspring similarly favoured.

I like the examples of the almond and the cattle, but they're complicated by the fact that another species is controlling the reproductive process - ie it's not just natural selection, it's breeding.

I think the best examples are the nylonase (never heard of that before, love it!) and the CCR5 mutation. Or the flu mutations.

pamindfw :
Quote
Jawbones and jaw muscles getting smaller, allowing for larger brain.
Indeed. When it comes down to it, I guess I could point to any evolving process on the grounds that it exists, therefore it must be beneficial. But this guy wants something more dramatic.

By the way, when I was 14, I had the top third of my skull removed and replaced with an elastic cover, thus allowing my brain to develop and expand unhindered.

I concede that was a stupid thing to do, but I'm a lot smarter now. So I think it worked.


Though I get a lot of headaches.

Gnu.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2010, 04:58:04 PM by Gnu Ordure »

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2010, 04:57:15 PM »
Yo, Ada.


I like those. Thanks.

(Can I steal your words, please? I mean, present them on the other forum as if they were mine? I could paraphrase them, if you want, but they're beautifully concise as they are).

« Last Edit: April 09, 2010, 05:03:12 PM by Gnu Ordure »

Offline ReasonIsOutToLunch

Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2010, 05:04:13 PM »
Obviously, your friend didn't benefit from the mutations that helped produce intelligence. Slope heads shouldn't try to debate.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2010, 05:10:44 PM »
I think he means from the point of view of the individual mutant, with the implication that because of the mutation it will be favoured by natural selection and produce offspring similarly favoured.

He probably does, for now.  But that might change once he gets what he asked for.

I like the examples of the almond and the cattle, but they're complicated by the fact that another species is controlling the reproductive process - ie it's not just natural selection, it's breeding.

Strictly speaking, these are just as good examples as the rest.  That you expect he wouldn't accept suggests that you share my suspicions re: goalpost-shifting.

I think the best examples are the nylonase (never heard of that before, love it!) and the CCR5 mutation. Or the flu mutations.

The nylon-eating bacteria are a pretty direct example, it's true.  Ada-B's examples are even better for this, because they're human examples.
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Offline pamindfw

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2010, 05:14:24 PM »
...
By the way, when I was 14, I had the top third of my skull removed and replaced with an elastic cover, thus allowing my brain to develop and expand unhindered.

I concede that was a stupid thing to do, but I'm a lot smarter now. So I think it worked.


Though I get a lot of headaches.

Gnu.

Wow!  Glad you're with us today!
By the way, while i'm not without a sense of humor, my first impulse is to believe, and therefore I am very gullible.  perhaps its because I was shorted two of my wisdom teeth!  So I assume you're not just joshing me.  Wow!
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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2010, 05:34:52 PM »
Reason:
Quote
Obviously, your friend didn't benefit from the mutations that helped produce intelligence. Slope heads shouldn't try to debate.
Indeed. And maybe I'm an idiot for talking to them.

The chap that I'm arguing with is a supporter of Adnan Oktar aka Harun Yahya.

You might have heard of him, as he's the guy that got Richard Dawkins' web-site closed down in Turkey a couple of years ago. He's a Muslim apologist, no scientific training or qualifications. Wiki here.

A few choice quotes:

Quote
When terrestrial strata and the fossil record are examined, it is to be seen that all living organisms appeared simultaneously in around 500-550 million years. This wide mosaic of living organisms made up of such a great number of complex creatures emerged so suddenly that this miraculous event is referred to as he "Cambrian Explosion" in geological literature.



Evolution is a theory based on an observation associated with wishful thinking. The basis of this theory is natural selection. However, natural selection can never increase or improve the genetic information of a species. Neither can it transform one species into another: a star fish into a fish or a frog into a crocodile etc.




The discovery, in the 1950s, of the structure of the DNA molecule that incorporates genetic information threw the theory of evolution into a great crisis. The reason was the incredible complexity of life and the invalidity of the evolutionary mechanisms proposed by Darwin. These developments ought to have resulted in Darwin's theory being banished to the dustbin of history. However, it was not, because certain circles insisted on revising, renewing, and elevating the theory to a scientific platform.



Darwinism is the worst mass deception in the history of the world. This false theory, launched with a false use of science, is supported by not a single piece of scientific evidence. But this deception has still been disseminated across the world, using false fossils and intense demagoguery, and has entered school books and is taught as a compulsory course in universities. Propaganda for this deception has been carried in the world's best-known scientific journals and other publications, as if it were an established fact. This is a result of the systematic activity of the Darwinist dictatorship that has ruled the world for the last 150 years

Yes, yes, I know. The stupid, it hurts. The paranoia, it's palpable. What to say? Where to begin?

Why am I talking to these people?
« Last Edit: April 09, 2010, 05:46:49 PM by Gnu Ordure »

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2010, 05:54:00 PM »
pamindfw:
Quote
Wow!  Glad you're with us today!
Hey, glad to be here. Personally I believe it's a miracle that I survived.

Quote
So I assume you're not just joshing me. 
I never josh. Not my style.


Offline JesusYourLord

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2010, 06:04:43 PM »
Identified genetic mutation in humans.

http://yalemedicine.yale.edu/ym_au02/findings.html
Quote
Members of this family carry a genetic mutation that causes high bone density.
Quote
Family members, according to the investigators, have bones so strong they rival those of a character in the 2000 movie Unbreakable.

Perchance this will be of some assistance? Think I got it from AronRa originally.
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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2010, 10:04:18 PM »


Quote
So I assume you're not just joshing me. 
I never josh. Not my style.



own personal rubber room   

how farsighted of you. ;)
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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2010, 04:09:05 PM »
JesusYL:
Quote
"Members of this family carry a genetic mutation that causes high bone density."
Thanks, JYL. Interesting article. Though I'm not sure how higher bone density is much of a benefit; it might save your life in a bad accident, I guess, but those kind of situations are pretty rare. (I'm in my sixth decade and I've broken one minor bone in that time - so high-density bones would be wasted on me). Maybe these guys could be become karate champions or something?



Anyway, thanks for all the ideas.

I quoted a few of them. I think the best example is skin colour. Especially since the people I'm arguing with are muslims, therefore they believe that mankind started off with adam and eve ie with one particular colour. So somehow they have to explain the fact that people these days are definitely not one colour.

Cheers,

Gnu.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2010, 04:15:05 PM »
... Though I'm not sure how higher bone density is much of a benefit; it might save your life in a bad accident, I guess, but those kind of situations are pretty rare. (I'm in my sixth decade and I've broken one minor bone in that time - so high-density bones would be wasted on me). ...

Depends on one's line of work.  You're a therapist of some sort, right?  If instead you worked (for example) for a British Columbia logging company, then those stronger bones would come in very handy.
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Offline Ada-B

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2010, 07:37:38 PM »
Yo, Ada.


I like those. Thanks.

(Can I steal your words, please? I mean, present them on the other forum as if they were mine? I could paraphrase them, if you want, but they're beautifully concise as they are).



Go ahead. Doesn't bother me in the slightest.

I happen to know about this vitamin D mutation thingy by the way, because I am one of those rare pale skinned people who cannot make vitamin D in my skin, and my daughter is a Northern European who cannot digest lactose. We must both be throwbacks  :P
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Offline Irish

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2010, 09:27:14 PM »
My go-to for just this sort of question:

The ability to digest milk in adult humans.

In mammals the ability to digest lactose ceases once the infant has grown to a certain age and has been weened from breast milk.  After that, lactose digestion shuts down as the diet is supplemented with fruits, plants, and meat and digesting milk is no longer necessary.

However, in some populations of humans the ability to digest lactose carries on into adulthood because mutations have caused the genes in the catabolic pathway of lactose to remain active.
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Offline Tero

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2012, 03:25:14 PM »
I searched mutation to revive an old topic.

Yes, that is a favorite among creationists. Mutation is bad. Yet we live with all our mutated genes as a gene pool, all the variants. The main answer is that all our ancestors mutated. Not only is each intermediate organism a winner, each was fully functional, despite the mutation. We did not have some species limping along for a million years in between.

Wiki article on detail of mutation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation

In addition, B cells mutate every time they get to work, when foreign antigens invade. The mutants either work or die. They cause no harm if they die, their only function is to catch antigens.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B_cells

Offline Cyberia

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2012, 03:48:14 PM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle-cell_disease

Quote
Due to the adaptive advantage of the heterozygote, the disease is still prevalent, especially among people with recent ancestry in malaria-stricken areas, such as Africa, the Mediterranean, India and the Middle East.[27] Malaria was historically endemic to southern Europe, but it was declared eradicated in the mid-20th century, with the exception of rare sporadic cases.[28]

The malaria parasite has a complex life cycle and spends part of it in red blood cells. In a carrier, the presence of the malaria parasite causes the red blood cells with defective haemoglobin to rupture prematurely, making the plasmodium unable to reproduce. Further, the polymerization of Hb affects the ability of the parasite to digest Hb in the first place. Therefore, in areas where malaria is a problem, people's chances of survival actually increase if they carry sickle-cell trait (selection for the heterozygote).

 
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Offline Aspie

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2012, 09:54:15 PM »
It's a valid question, but the problem is creationist "challenges" typically have hidden qualifiers for the explicit purpose of dismissing scientific conclusions. In this particular case I wouldn't be surprised if he claims that they were only beneficial because of manipulation within a laboratory, or that they were "preprogrammed". He may even outright reject them because they aren't X-men mutations on par with his idea of developing entire complex systems in single steps.

This is typically how creationists debate - they pose ostensibly honest questions, which turn out to be rhetorical games as they hand-wave away scientific explanations and declare that nobody can answer them. It's why people generally won't go out of their way to debate creationists as you're sent on a wild goose chase only to have your presented transitional fossils dismissed because they aren't chimeric amalgamations, your explanations of the mechanisms involved dismissed because you used the word random somewhere in your post, all of evolutionary taxonomy chucked out the window in favor of the creationist-friendly unscientific unit of "kind", and any marine fossil you present declared to be proof positive of a global flood.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 10:05:44 PM by Aspie »

Offline inveni0

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2012, 10:52:13 AM »
Actually, the question is invalid.  The asker doesn't believe in evolution.  Otherwise, you could just point to any species on the planet and say, "There...there's the beneficial mutations."  You could hold up your hands, wiggle your thumbs..."There...there's the beneficial mutations."  But since the asker doesn't believe in evolution, the asker is looking for mutations WITHIN species, in which case mutations won't be as easily classified as "mutations".  The asker is wondering about two-headed children, six toes, 3-chambered hearts.

The argument isn't worth having.  Just answer with, "If you can't see with your own eyes the process of evolution all around you, then there is no example I can give.  Mutation is in every living thing on the face of the planet, and even in the rocks, wind and waves.  Everything you see is a product of mutation."
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Offline Noman Peopled

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2012, 12:04:00 PM »
A similar, and even cooler example of a development similar to sustained lactose-tolerance would be bat wings, which are the result of failed planned cell death. Which is itself a trait necessary only because another one still persists - webbing between fingers and toes as an atavism from back when the mammals' ancestors were marine. Humans have both traits - atavistic webbing apparent in early emmbryonic stages and the programmed cell death that gets rid of it.[1]
 1. Hopefully just in time for your first date.
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Offline qwan_lee

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2012, 05:51:57 PM »
I'm having an argument on another forum about the role of mutation in evolution.

This guy is saying that all random genetic mutations are harmful, and is challenging me to produce an example of a beneficial mutation.

Would somebody please either give me an example of a beneficial mutation, or else a reason why the question is invalid.

Cheers,

Gnu.

He is correct. That is why lifespan positively correlates with DNA repair capacity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_damage_theory_of_aging

http://www.trueorigin.org/mutations01.asp

http://creation.com/mutations-are-evolutions-end

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2012, 06:28:57 PM »
He is correct. That is why lifespan positively correlates with DNA repair capacity.
I'm unsurprised that you would say this, given some of your other posts.  You are conflating two completely separate ideas (the fact that an individual organism's lifespan is affected by the efficiency of DNA repair systems, and your belief that any and all mutations are detrimental).  This is untrue, you are jumping to conclusions and making a biased generalization.  Furthermore, if you had actually read that Wiki page you linked, you would have seen that they made that distinction.

Quote from: Wikipedia
To understand the DNA damage theory of aging it is important to distinguish between DNA damage and mutation, the two major types of errors that occur in DNA. DNA damages and mutation are fundamentally different. Damages are physical abnormalities in the DNA, such as single and double strand breaks, 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine residues and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon adducts. DNA damages can be recognized by enzymes, and thus they can be correctly repaired if redundant information, such as the undamaged sequence in the complementary DNA strand or in a homologous chromosome, is available for copying. If a cell retains DNA damage, transcription of a gene can be prevented and thus translation into a protein will also be blocked. Replication may also be blocked and/or the cell may die. Descriptions of decrements in function, characteristic of aging, associated with accumulation of DNA damages, are given later in this article.

In contrast to DNA damage, a mutation is a change in the base sequence of the DNA. A mutation cannot be recognized by enzymes once the base change is present in both DNA strands, and thus a mutation cannot be repaired. At the cellular level, mutations can cause alterations in protein function and regulation. Mutations are replicated when the cell replicates. In a population of cells, mutant cells will increase or decrease in frequency according to the effects of the mutation on the ability of the cell to survive and reproduce. Although distinctly different from each other, DNA damages and mutations are related because DNA damages often cause errors of DNA synthesis during replication or repair and these errors are a major source of mutation.
[1]

So while DNA damage is related to mutation, they are not the same thing.  DNA damage is not carried down into offspring, while mutations are.  Indeed, if DNA damage were passed on, such as what happens in cloning, populations would very rapidly die out, as in within a few generations.  In other words, such an organism wouldn't have survived long enough to become a population to begin with.
 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_damage_theory_of_aging#DNA_damage_and_mutation

Offline Historicity

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Re: Help regarding mutations... ???
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2012, 07:15:56 PM »
Would somebody please either give me an example of a beneficial mutation, or else a reason why the question is invalid.
Easy.  "Atomic seeds".  For instance most of the mint oil in the world is from a mutation induced by radioactivity.  Also the Rio Red grapefruit you've eaten was a radioactive mutation.

Inducing mutations to find beneficial ones is an ongoing industry.

Typical is the Japanese Institute for Radiative Breeding.  It has a circular walled 100 meters in radius with an 8 meter wall.   In the center is a hole with a pole hidden in it which has a highly radioactive cobalt-60 at the top.  The pole is raised and lowered remotely.  The plants to be mutated are place around the center in concentric rings.  The ones at the center will almost surely die.  Then the irradiated survivors are bred looking for new beneficial mutations.


There is also a low radiation building for plants to grow their entire lives in radiation.  And a room for acute irradiation of seeds:


Enough beneficial mutations are found to make this a profitable business.

Here: Institute of Radiative Breeding in Japan

This is old news.  It's been going on since the 1950s. Here's a seed grower named C.J.Speas with his (OMG!) backyard nuclear reactor:


A few more articles:
http://www.good.is/post/how-radiation-is-changing-the-foods-that-you-eat/
Quote
In 2006, Western Australia's Department of Agriculture and Food sent 215 kg of seeds—wheat, barley, and other vegetable seeds—on a 15-day spin around the world on board a Chinese Shijian-8 satellite.

Why send seeds into space? So that they come in contact with cosmic radiation, and so that radiation causes mutations and, potentially, new plant varieties.

Today, China has taken the lead—and an immense, nationalist pride—in radiation breeding, a technique commercially pioneered by Lewis J. Stadler, who bombarded barley and corn seeds with x-ray in the 1940s, to cause an increase in beneficial plant mutations. Research in the United States culminated in the following decades, flourishing in Gamma Gardens, at garden shows (above), and even making an appearance in 1961 in ad pages of Popular Science. "Absolutely safe—completely unpredictable," the ad boasted.

An article of the history of the Atomic Gardening Society:
http://www.ediblegeography.com/strange-and-beautiful-seeds-from-the-atom/

Here's an odd legal point:  When a new lifeform is genetically engineered it is under a bunch of restrictions even tho it was planned for effect.  When it happens with a random, unknown mutation altho artificially induced, it is "natural" and under no restriction.

« Last Edit: April 18, 2012, 07:17:27 PM by Historicity »