2022-01-14

Research: the randomness of DNA mutation is smaller than we thought

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fc70855402d66a1 - Research: the randomness of DNA mutation is smaller than we thought

opportunity plays an important role in evolution. The traditional idea is that DNA mutations will occur randomly in the genome of organisms. If these new features are just conducive to the survival and reproduction of organisms, these mutations will be passed on to the next generation. In a long enough time, these traits can become the characteristics of a population or species

but is there a rule to follow in the location of DNA mutations in the genome? To investigate, researchers from the University of California, Davis and the Max Planck Institute planted hundreds of kale plants in the laboratory, sequenced their genomes and compared the location of DNA mutations – there seems to be a non random pattern

“we always think that mutations are basically random in the whole genome,” said grey Monroe, the lead author of the study. “Facts have proved that mutations are very non random and non random in a way conducive to plants. This is a new way to think about mutations.”

by growing plants under controlled laboratory conditions, the team tried to eliminate the non random effects of natural selection and ensure that plants that usually do not survive in the real world are not eliminated by any negative mutations

in hundreds of plant genomes, the research team found more than one million mutations, which seem to be concentrated in some parts of the genome. This left plaques with consistently low mutation rates, as low as a third of those in other regions. When scientists examined which genes were located in these plaques, they found a large number of basic genes, including those involved in cell growth and gene expression

“these are really important regions in the genome,” Monroe said. “Biologically, the most important regions are those that are protected from mutation.”

interestingly, these regions also seem to have stronger DNA damage repair mechanisms, suggesting an enhanced method to ensure that these key sequences remain functional

detlef Weigel, senior author of the study, said: “plants have evolved a way to protect their most important places from mutations. This is exciting because we can even use these findings to think about how to protect human genes from mutations.”

this new study adds more and more work, which deepens people’s understanding of the role of DNA mutations in evolution. One study in 2014 found that mutations occurred more frequently near repeats, while another study in 2019 found mutation hotspots at recombination sites, that is, where chromosomes from each parent paired

the researchers of this new study say that this work may eventually lead to the improvement of better crops in engineering and even the control of human diseases caused by DNA mutations, such as some types of cancer. However, any application in these fields is undoubtedly far away