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  1. Raymond Devoret

Published Online: 11 MAR 2004

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0001882



How to Cite

Devoret, R. 2004. Mutation. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Curie Institute, Paris, France

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 11 MAR 2004


A mutation is a DNA change that is recorded durably and passed on to the offspring. A number of mutations in germ cells have detrimental effects for they often cause hereditary diseases. Likewise, mutations that accumulate in body cells can generate cancers. Nevertheless, a large number of mutations are neutral in their normal environment. The few advantageous mutations that occur are generally maintained. Mutations that arise at random are constantly sifted through by a selective environment. This dual process works as the driving force of evolution.


  • mutation;
  • carcinogen;
  • ames test;
  • DNA damage;
  • DNA replication error