Mutations Are Inevitable

Mutation rates of a given gene

Mutation rates of a given gene

It’s been too long since I’ve written about science here on G+. Here is an image I created for the next installment in the Hallmarks of Cancer series I’m writing. This hasn’t been published yet, but I found the numbers fascinating while I was researching my article.

Mutations are incredibly rare events, but because there is so much opportunity for them to happen (because of so many cell divisions), they really are inevitable. It really is a wonder that we are not riddled with tumors from the moment we are conceived. And this is not counting the potential for DNA damage every time we walk in the sun (DNA damage) or expose ourselves to carcinogens. Our genome surveillance system is integral for making sure cells with damaged DNA are not allowed to continue; they are either halted for repair, or destroyed if the DNA damage is FUBAR (heh).

Further reading

These figures are taken from the textbook Human Molecular Genetics, available for free at the NCBI Bookshelf (NIH).

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