Chromosomal Inversion

An inversion is a chromosome rearrangement in which a segment of a chromosome is reversed end to end. An inversion occurs when a single chromosome undergoes breakage and rearrangement within itself. Inversions are of two types: paracentric and pericentric.

Paracentric inversions do not include the centromere and both breaks occur in one arm of the chromosome. Pericentric inversions include the centromere and there is a break point in each arm.

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Cytogenetic techniques may be able to detect inversions, or inversions may be inferred from genetic analysis. Nevertheless, in most species small inversions go undetected. In insects with polytene chromosomes, for example Drosophila, preparations of larval salivary gland chromosomes allow inversions to be seen when they are heterozygous. This useful characteristic of polytene chromosomes was first advertised by Theophilus Shickel Painter in 1933.

Inversions usually do not cause any abnormalities in carriers as long as the rearrangement is balanced with no extra or missing genetic information. However, in individuals which are heterozygous for an inversion, there is an increased production of abnormal chromatids (this occurs when crossing-over occurs within the span of the inversion). This leads to lowered fertility.

Families that may be carriers of inversions may be offered genetic counseling and genetic testing.

The most common inversion seen in humans is on chromosome 9, at inv(9)(p11q12). This inversion is generally considered to have no deleterious or harmful effects, but there is some evidence it leads to an increased risk for miscarriage for about 30% of affected couples.

Gene mutation

Mutations are changes to the nucleotide sequence of the genetic material of an organism. Mutations can be caused by copying errors in the genetic material during cell division, by exposure to ultraviolet or ionizing radiation, chemical mutagens, or viruses, or can occur deliberately under cellular control during processes such as hypermutation. In multicellular organisms, mutations can be subdivided into germ line mutations, which can be passed on to descendants, and somatic mutations, which are not transmitted to descendants in animals. Plants sometimes can transmit somatic mutations to their descendants asexually or sexually (in case when flower buds develop in somatically mutated part of plant). A new mutation that was not inherited from either parent is called a de novo mutation.
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Mutations create variations in the gene pool. Less favorable (or deleterious) mutations can be reduced in frequency in the gene pool by natural selection, while more favorable (beneficial or advantageous) mutations may accumulate and result in adaptive evolutionary changes. For example, a butterfly may produce offspring with new mutations. Many times those are have no effect; but one might change the color of one of the butterfly's offspring, making it harder (or easier) for predators to see. If this color change is advantageous, the chance of this butterfly surviving and producing its own offspring are a little better, and over time the number of butterflies with this mutation may form a larger percentage of the population.

Neutral mutations are defined as mutations whose effects do not influence the fitness of an individual. These can accumulate over time due to genetic drift. It is believed that the overwhelming majority of mutations have no significant effect on an organism's fitness. Also, DNA repair mechanisms are able to mend most changes before they become permanent mutations, and many organisms have mechanisms for eliminating otherwise permanently mutated somatic cells.

UV induced Mutation