Mutations

ID #2359

I know that transposons are the "jumping genes" which are responsible for most chromosome level mutations, but what is it that is causing them to jump?


A transposon consists of double stranded DNA. Contained within this region of double stranded DNA are a few genes (exactly how many depends on the transposon). Since a transposon just consists of DNA, when it is part of a chromosome, transcription machinery will recognize transposon DNA just the same as it would recognize chromosomal DNA. Any genes contained in the transposon will be transcribed and translated. One of the genes encoded by a transposon is a transposase enzyme, which is responsible for cutting the transposon out of the chromosome and re-inserting it into a different location in the chromosome (hence the term "jumping genes.") There are a wide variety of different types of transposons, and some have even been implicated in the spread of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. 
You don't need to know this level of detail for the exam, but you should know that they are examples of insertion mutations. 

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