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Thread: Does anyone have an example of a current beneficial mutation

  1. #1 Does anyone have an example of a current beneficial mutation 
    Forum Sophomore Nanobrain's Avatar
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    Does anyone know of any beneficial genetic mutations that have occured for any creature within recorded genetic history? I watched a propaganda video somewhere on YouTube, which was against Evolution, stating that beneficial genetic mutations just do not exist. That all mutations are known to be killer or harmful, not profiting the species.

    I am very new to the field of genetics, though I have been interested in and evolution-geared for a few years now. Thanks in advance for any responses.


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    I suspect that quite a few mutations are not benificial, or even detrimental until the right selective pressure comes along, for example sickle cell anemia is normally a bad thing to have, but in regions with malaria, a person with sickle cell is much less likely likely to contract malaria, and so the benifits outweigh the risks. The gene for sickle cell may have even arisen in malaria regions because of the benifit. Another example would be genetic immunity to HIV/AIDS. This is only a recent disease, but there is already evidence of genetic immunity. I'm guessing the gene(s) causing the immunity were present before the disease arose, but only now are they a significant advantage to have
    HIV link


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    Thank you so very much for taking the time to reply.

    I see in the article you supplied, that a mutated version of CKR5 is technically or honestly beneficial. Though I think it only slowed the AIDS process. So, I see how that any mutation has the chances of being profitable and harmful at the same time, and that there are truly are beneficial mutations. This has cleared a great deal up in my mind. And, it blows that damn religious propaganda straight out of the water. Not that I ever believed the video in the first place.
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    Are you willing to count count Genetically modified crops in your search?
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    I'm sorry, but I don't quite understand why you are asking this. But, yea sure I am willing.
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  7. #6  
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    Forget it, I speed read your post and missed the word 'creature'
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    Well, to restate the topic...I should say 'lifeform'. So, go ahead with what you were saying. Thank you.
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    I was pondering that GM foods are already here, they have been approved, some have been withdrawn etc. I'm not an expert in GM food but if you research it on the net you might find some are beneficial.

    Profitable I presume you mean in the genetic sense (rather than financial) GM foods are already being used to feed people in the third world (where presumably we can watch the effects from a safe distance...)
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  10. #9 Re: Does anyone have an example of a current profitable muta 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanobrain
    Does anyone know of any profitable genetic mutations that have occured for any creature within recorded genetic history?
    Profitable? Are you asking if there are any recorded genetic mutations that are useful? If so I would suggest that all are. If you get it right than your good to go. If you get it wrong than it doesn't happen again. The problem with humans is that we tend to save those of us with unhealthy mutation. i.e. I have bad eyes, although I suppose that is nothing compaired to things some have to deal with.

    I have a question to add. On the topic of nearsightedness. Is it a single mutation that is passed on or many mutations that are either passed on or new born? I'm pretty sure I am nearsighted because my mother was but, my nearsightedness is not the same as hers. Does this make sense?

    The reason I questioned profitable was because it also sounds like a topic I wanted to start. Patenting of genetic mutations. You could sell them. But if that's not what you ment I will leave it for another thread.
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    Forgive me for using the word 'profitable'. I don't mean that in the sense of a money-maker. But, I tend to use it in place of beneficial, though it is not the correct use of the word.

    About patenting any findings in genetic makeup, I disagree with. Of course, for economics it is a must. So, it is something that must occur. But, it creates bottleknecks in the world of genetics. Though, I don't quite understand your idea. So, maybe I should catch my tongue.
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    I have heard that parts of Human DNA will be patented! - how absurd is that? - will I have to pay everytime a wound heals?

    Just copy and paste this into google - Human DNA patents
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    I believe it unethical to patent naturally occuring DNA or genes. When it comes to DNA, I believe that only artificially created/coded DNA should be patentable. Because, this type of DNA was created by the patenteer.

    Patenting a natural gene would be like patenting a newfound mountain or lake. We don't see this happening.

    Maybe I should not boast my views on this topic, because I have nothing to back them up with(at least not at this very moment...as my dumbfoundedness holds me back). However, if anyone agrees with me who has a fight, please do post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanobrain
    I believe it unethical to patent naturally occuring DNA or genes. When it comes to DNA, I believe that only artificially created/coded DNA should be patentable. Because, this type of DNA was created by the patenteer.

    Patenting a natural gene would be like patenting a newfound mountain or lake. We don't see this happening.

    Maybe I should not boast my views on this topic, because I have nothing to back them up with(at least not at this very moment...as my dumbfoundedness holds me back). However, if anyone agrees with me who has a fight, please do post.
    Maybe I will start a thread on this. Just to give you an idea.
    Say someone invented a gene that would prevent the person from catching malaria. Normally if you invent something you do with it what you want. So is it right to only allow those with the needed amount of money to have this. If that is the case than would there be any reason for it since they probably don't need it anyways. What about the entire countries that can't afford it. The technology will advance so fast they will be unbelievably behind. There are many more issues that can be brought up. I don't expect you to answer these. I will start another thread soon... if no one else does.
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    But, I am not speaking about the inventor having the funds to patent their created gene. Instead, I am simply speaking about the ethical wrongness of patenting any gene that has come naturaly from the world. Forgive me if I just flat-out did not percieve your post as you wished for me to undersand it.
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    Don't worry about it. I'll starta new thread so we can start over there. I have pulled this thread too off topic.
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    GULO - L-gulono-gamma-lactone oxidase gene

    It is the gene that makes the enzyme to produce ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) in all mammals except primates..... including human. We have a mutation in it (i believe it is a nonsense mutation in exon 3 ... but i might be wrong).

    I think that companies that make vitamins would say this is a profitable mutation!
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    Okay, as I stated in a few posts back, I should not have used the word 'profitable'. 'Beneficial' is the word I should have placed in the question. I am sorry for the misdirection.
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    This thread may have lost its momentom but you could try editing your original post so that new comers don't make the same mistake as everyone else.
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  20. #19  
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    I have changed the words 'profitable' to 'beneficial' now. However, even with my incorrect word usage, if users would fully read, or likewise pay attention when they read my first post, they should clearly notice that I am speaking of mutations towards the benefit of a species.

    That all mutations are known to be killer or harmful, not profiting the species.
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  21. #20 Beneficial genetic mutations 
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    Most genetic mutations are harmful. In fact, genetic mutation is ultimately what causes aging and death. When mutations do occur in the human body, however, many are "mopped up" by the body's own immune system. It is only when the immune system itself suffers from a cascade of mutations (i.e., ages) that it becomes unable to keep up with the flood, so to speak.

    In terms of genetic mutation that effect offspring, however, it is obvious—since most babies are born healthy—that few mutations are serious enough to cause harm to the infant, or limit its ability to reproduce as an adult. This is in part because the sperm and egg cells of reproducing-age individuals is not yet old enough to have been degraded by genetic mutation. It has recently been demonstrated, however, that as both men and women age, their reproductive cells accumulate ever more genetic damage. In other words, the older you are when you have children, the more likely you are to produce offspring that suffer from genetic problems such as autism.

    I think you'll find the following article to be helpful. It mentions that not all mutations are harmful but are actually beneficial—when inherited by only one parent. For instance, sickle-cell anemia: full-blown version, fatal hematological disorder; partial version, you don't get malaria. Tay Sachs disease: full-blown version, your nervous system is destroyed within a couple of months of life; partial version, you're resistant to tuberculosis. Cystic fibrosis: full-blown version, you're typically dead by 20; partial version, you're resistant to cholera.

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    Cystic fibrosis sufferers are resistant to cholera, this was at one time an advantage which explains why it survived as a gene, it also explains why Ireland (where I live) has such a high genetic rate of CF, we had a famine about 150 years ago, disease was rampid, many of the survivors had CF.

    Dont think of advantageous mutations as advantageous full stop. Everything must be in context, a gene will only be advantageous if it is suitable for the environment it lives in.
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    I believe it accurate to say that every gene or mutation has it's harms and it's benefits. Would this be a correctly generalized speculation, according to both your knowledge of this field?
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  24. #23 Re: Beneficial genetic mutations 
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    Quote Originally Posted by NLN
    Most genetic mutations are harmful. In fact, genetic mutation is ultimately what causes... version, you're resistant to tuberculosis. Cystic fibrosis: full-blown version, you're typically dead by 20; partial version, you're resistant to cholera.
    Thank you for this enlightenning information. It is something that I am very interested in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nanobrain
    I believe it accurate to say that every gene or mutation has it's harms and it's benefits.
    I think that this is true in when speaking of the direct effects of a specific mutation. But, I think that the idea or action of gene mutation is always good; without it we would likely not exist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanobrain
    I believe it accurate to say that every gene or mutation has it's harms and it's benefits. Would this be a correctly generalized speculation, according to both your knowledge of this field?
    Not quite. There are often several different genetic codes for the same protein, so many mutations can have no affect whatsoever.
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    Polydactyly (extra fingers); playing piano is just that bit easier for them!
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    The Matt,

    Your right. I didn't even think to factor that. Thank you for your inclusion.
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  28. #27  
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    Viruses will clearly give the best examples of recent beneficial mutations. Of course, the term "beneficial" here applies to the virus, not the host. I suppose it's because viruses are relatively simple organisms with extremely high rate of reproduction that their evolution is so much faster and more radical than ours. Interesting also: The evolution of viruses is accelerated by the challenge of a changing environment, i.e. fighting back with medicine speeds up a virus' evolution, just as you would expect. In some sense viruses provide exaggerated insight into some of the basic evolutionary mechanisms that affect all organisms, just over different time scales.

    There is one more example I remember from high school: Some moth species in the UK changed from white to black during the industrialization (around 1900), when heavy pollution darkened the bark of trees that this moth depends on (birch?). The moth adapted to a changing environment, but I don't remember if the mutation happened just then, or if the white variety was already present in the gene pool, long before it became dominant.

    Anyway, if we agree that mutation is a random variation of DNA caused by external influence, and we further agree that no DNA is absolutely perfect and unimprovable, there can be no doubt that some mutations are beneficial and some are harmful, just by chance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by M
    There is one more example I remember from high school: Some moth species in the UK changed from white to black during the industrialization (around 1900), when heavy pollution darkened the bark of trees that this moth depends on (birch?). The moth adapted to a changing environment, but I don't remember if the mutation happened just then, or if the white variety was already present in the gene pool, long before it became dominant.
    I've heard this one too. It was always my understanding that the allele for dark colouring was always present but dark moths were rare due to being very visible. Great example of natural selection though.
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  30. #29  
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    Anyway, if we agree that mutation is a random variation of DNA caused by external influence, and we further agree that no DNA is absolutely perfect and unimprovable, there can be no doubt that some mutations are beneficial and some are harmful, just by chance.
    I am in complete agreeance with this statement. But, mutations are not only caused by outside influences, but also from mistakes within duplication and so forth. However, I love your statement. As far as I am concerned, this thread has been fulfilled. The creators of that propaganda should now go run and hide. Or, at least confess their ignorance...hehe. :)
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