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What is a mutation

Mutations are changes in genetic information (changes in DNA sequence)


How do mutations affect the organism

Mutations can be good, bad, or irrelevant for the organism


Why are all people considered mutants

All people/organisms that reproduce sexually, except for twins, will have different genetic information from their parents. So they are all genetically different, and a mutant is just an organism that has a change in its genetics


What is a "wildtype"

Used as a control in experiments, they contain the natural variation that can occur in genes that are predominantly found in organisms in nature


Describe "evolution"

Populations evolve, not individual organisms. Evolution has no future goals or direction. A trout is not driven by evolution to develop legs. When gorilla mate they are not trying to make a human


What is a common ancestor

Fish and land-dwelling vertebrates have a primitive common ancestor in their genetic history, this genetic ancestors produced different hereditary lineages leading to extant (existing) fish and land animals


Do gorillas and humans have a common ancestor

Yes. ALL current life on earth has a common ancestor. For example, genetic lines of humans evolved from a common ancestor into different races and populations as they became geographically isolated. People from Sweden look different than people from Italy or Japan because of their genetic history, but Italians are not evolving into Swedes or vice versa.


What does the makeup of current organisms depend on

The makeup of organisms depends entirely on their genetic past and evolutionary pressures. They don't create new genes, they can pick up genes from other organisms or genes can change but there is no creation of new genes completely from scratch


Why don't Gram negative bacteria form spores

Gram negative cells do not form spores because their evolutionary history didn't have them form spores. Combination of bot the environment they living in and the genetics of their ancestor organisms did not have them forming spores.


What is the goal of evolution

There is not goal in evolution, but there are different selective pressures in different environments. People living in different areas of the world tend to look different. But Italians are not trying to evolve into Swedes or anything like that


What is "species"

The concept of a species is a human convention used to classify organisms. Some organisms can interbreed (between species) and still produce fertile offspring.


What are viruses not classified as

Viruses are not classified by genus/species


Doesn't evolution try to achieve perfection

No, there are no perfect organisms. Populations evolve to be better suited to their environment, but there is no evolutionary pressure to become perfect


How does evolution work

Evolution is a consequence of genetics and natural selection, it works on EXISTING genetic varaibility in populations, it does NOT produce genetic changes and it cannot have future goals. Genetic changes that allow an organism to produce more fertile offsptring will increase in a population


What happens if you can't give rise to fertile offspring

The species will eventually go extinct


What happens if other organisms can use resources in an ecological niche better than you

Then you will be out competed in that ecological niche. Everyone has to be fighting for these resources It is rare that a aprticular organism takes over an ecological niche because there is constant competition and conditions are constantly changing


What is sexual selection

Selection not for something that makes you better at getting food or surviving, but selection for things that make the opposite sex more likely to mate for. Like antlers "female deers think big antler are hot" so it becomes selected for. It doesn't make them better suited for the environment but it helps them produce more fertile offspring


Why hasn't an organism evolved that can out-compete all other organisms?

Because other organisms, competitors, pathogens, and parasites are evolving too. Competition in most environments is fierce. However there are a few environments here one or only a few organisms are dominant. For example, salt ponds are dominated by certain photosynthetic microorganisms