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Stressed cells spark DNA repair missteps and speed evolution

, not affecting cells at all. Many are deleterious, resulting in cell death. But a small percentage is advantageous, allowing the cells to survive in an adverse environment.

The fact that the changes in the rate of mutation occur only in a certain physical space at a certain time gives the cells advantage because it reduces the risk to the whole colony. DNA breaks occur only rarely in each individual cell. If the mutations are restricted in time and space, it reduces the risk that the mistakes in repair will affect some other gene. It can also enhance the likelihood of two mutations occurring in the same gene or neighboring genes.

"This can speed evolution of complex protein machines." Rosenberg said.


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Source:Baylor College of Medicine


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