A genetic mutation occurs when mistakes are made during copying/reproduction of DNA and/or chromosomes. Mutations may be beneficial, neutral or deleterious (bad) for the organism. Around 95% of mutations have no significant immediate effect or are neutral, and most remaining ones are deleterious. Mutations are unavoidable and they are necessary for evolution to work at all. Natural and sexual selection decide which phenotypes will be prevalent in future generations and which mutations will become fixed (meaning highly prevalent in the gene pool).
Older parents produce more mutations in their offspring. There is also evidence that the mutation rate is much higher in human males (up to 6 times higher), which has also been found in other species such as birds. This has lead to a hypothesis of evolution being largely driven by mutations in the male germline. This finding is heavily contested however.
Kinds of mutations that can occur[edit | edit source]
There various main types of mutations:
|Deletion||one or more DNA bases are left out||a piece of chromosome is lost, together with any genes which may be on it.|
|Insertion||one or more extra base is put in||a smaller chromosome is added into a longer chromosome|
|Substitution||one or more bases are changed for another base in the sequence|
|Duplication||whole genes are copied||part of a chromosome is repeated|
|Inversion||part of a chromosome is reversed end to end|
|Translocation||part of a chromosome gets moved onto another chromosome|
Rise in mutations[edit | edit source]
Some evidence suggests that there are more people with deleterious mutations in the human population due to a number of factors, including but not limited to: milder ecological conditions, modern medicine, advanced paternal age and especially due to much lower infant mortality. Given the complex nature and function of the human brain, one would expect it to be particularly vulnerable to deleterious mutations, which may be reflected in the apparent rise in the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders, as it has been argued that up to 30% of cases of this condition in simplex families (where only one member has the condition) could be attributed to de novo mutations. Extrapolation of the rate of deleterious mutational load in mice and other organisms has led to a rough estimate of a 1% decline in the baseline physical and mental performance attributes of populations in conditions of extreme relaxed selection pressures (both natural and sexual) per generation. This estimate may be overly conservative, however, particularly in regards to brain function. Some researchers have also argued factors that decrease deleterious mutational load in populations, such as reductions in the rate of inbreeding and pre-natal therapeutic fetus selection (the abortion of offspring with severe abnormalities revealed through pre-birth screening) may serve to counteract these effects somewhat.
Mutational load may not be related to economic status very much. On the one hand, less mutated individuals are expected to rise higher in the socioeconomic hierarchy. On the other hand, the elite has a slightly lower infant mortality rates, milder living conditions and sometimes engages in excessive inbreeding.
Some incels may have a high mutational load[edit | edit source]
For example, incels on incels.co disproportionately describe themselves as autistic and autists have a high risk of inceldom. Autism has been suggested to be a good measure of developmental instability/mutational load due to the correlations with de novo mutations mentioned above.
Some mutations are good[edit | edit source]
Even though the vast majority of mutations are deleterious, some mutations are good. An example is the ACTN3 gene giving West African sprinters faster fast-twitch muscle fibers and therefore a faster sprint spreed. Ugliness does not necessarily worsen the gene pool as it is only weakly related to disease. However, various genetic diseases, functional and cognitive impairment do warrant concern and reduce overall population viability if maintained in the gene pool (dysgenics). Fortunately, we will possibly be able to fix diseases via gene editing in near future.
Even though some mutations are beneficial, the news media only focus on deleterious mutations, presumably because bad news is more attention grabbing. People are also hardwired to socially exclude mutants to increase their own reproductive success.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]