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Thread: Mutations and there effect on protien's

  1. #1 Mutations and there effect on protien's 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Hi all,

    I am a biology enthusiast, and have been recently studying evolution and genetics.

    One area where I am stuck on, is how new proteins are created/modified. Specifically on the arrival of a new sequence that codes for a protein that performs a different function to it's parent sequence.

    I completely understand mutation by frame shift, deletion, substitution etc, but this generally results in a neutral mutation and thus has no effect. This is because many codon's code for the same amino acid, or even if an amino acid is changed, the new protein formed will usually perform the same function.

    So how does a new function arise? Can it be sudden, i.e. although most amino acid changes will make the protein perform the same function, certain ones can have a drastic effect on the function of the protein?

    What about the non-coding DNA? After millions of years of mutations, can they suddenly get "lucky" and have mutated into a functional sequence? If so, can this be incorporated into the coding section?

    Any direction to literature on this sort of thing would be great (I guess it falls under the "Molecular Genetics" umbrella)?

    Thanks in advance,

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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    55 N, 3 W
    This is one of my favourite topiics. I'm a bit busy to go in to detail, but a nice summary can be found in this review: The origin of new genes: glimpses from the young and old.. Main mechanisms would include things like exon-shuffling, gene duplication and divergence, retroposition, and other mobile element promoted events, gene fusion and gene fission (all briefly outlined in the link).

    If you look at proteins in general you can see that they often have highly conserved domains and folds that have presumably existed since the dawn of time. So, what appears to happen is that evolution can play a game of mix and match, swapping domains and folds, rather than having to slowly stumble upon such sequences repeatedly by chance.

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