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How would a biologist determine that a mutation has occurred when ?

  1. Feb 16, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    The effects of a mutation are not always visible. How might a biologist determine whether a mutation has occurred, and if so, what type of mutation it is?

    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution

    Would it be correct to say that cancer is not always visible, so they can run test to see if the patient has cancer?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2009 #2
    i guess so, but cancer is testable, due to abnormal growth in cells, so what they do is sometimes they give you this IV that has a slightly radioactive substance in it, then they let it circulate in your system and then take an image of it. The areas that have a high concentration of it usually mean that there is abnormal growth there, which usually indicates cancer. Cancer is also indicated by an abnormal lump or growth. i.e a lump in the breast ususally is breast cancer, so a mamography, or self-examination usually id's that, and a prostate exam usually tells if the prostate has cancer. To the best of my knowledge, mutations cannot be traced back to when they occured, because it would be in the DNA, and that is multiplied many times over the same day, so it probably cannot be traced. As to what type of mutation has occured, in humans, it is usually traceable to what it does, because we have mapped the human genome. This means that they mapped the healthy version of the gene and if its mutated, then they can probably tell what it would change. Hope i helped you! =D
     
  4. Feb 19, 2009 #3
    Not all mutations are cancerous.
    A way to check it would be to compare DNA from past and present. If the mutation is cancerous then it hsould be testable.
    The best way is to transfer the genes to something that has a haploid life cycle ie: Yest Artificial Chromosomes, and other fungi. And if there is a mutation it'll show up, recessive or not.
     
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