A bright, illuminated, yellow cluster of spheres, representing a mutated base pair, stands out from a double helix of deep red base pairs joined by blue hydrogen bonds
Study: Sickle Cell Mutation Driven by Pressure, Not Random Chance
New research finds that the appearance of the HbS mutation, which protects against malaria but leads to sickle cell disease when present in two copies, was more common in sperm samples from men in Ghana, where malaria risk is high, than Europeans.
ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, SILVERV
Study: Sickle Cell Mutation Driven by Pressure, Not Random Chance
Study: Sickle Cell Mutation Driven by Pressure, Not Random Chance

New research finds that the appearance of the HbS mutation, which protects against malaria but leads to sickle cell disease when present in two copies, was more common in sperm samples from men in Ghana, where malaria risk is high, than Europeans.

New research finds that the appearance of the HbS mutation, which protects against malaria but leads to sickle cell disease when present in two copies, was more common in sperm samples from men in Ghana, where malaria risk is high, than Europeans.

ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, SILVERV

mutation rate

A close-up image of pale green seeds inside of a green capsule taken by a scanning electron microscope
Essential Genes Protected from Mutations
Dan Robitzski | Jan 25, 2022
Epigenetic structures appear to reduce the rate of changes in genes essential for survival and reproduction, a study finds, challenging the notion that mutations are evenly distributed throughout the genome prior to selection.
No Transgenerational Effects of Chernobyl Radiation Found
Abby Olena | Apr 22, 2021
The genomes of the children of people exposed to fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear accident appear to carry no trace of the incident.
Long-Lived Trees’ Epigenetic Mutations Serve as a Molecular Clock
Jef Akst | Mar 1, 2021
Cells found in different branches of a tree have different patterns of DNA methylation, changes in which accumulate over time.
Skin Sheltered from Sunlight Still Gathers UV-Linked Mutations
Abby Olena | Jan 14, 2021
Whole-genome sequencing reveals a wide range of UV-induced DNA changes in human skin cells, and lighter skin collects more mutations, sometimes to “sky high” levels.
Human Mutation Rates Steady Across Groups—Except in the Amish
Abby Olena | Jan 29, 2020
Researchers determined that the incidence of new genetic mutations is comparable in people of different ancestries, but lower in Amish people.
Cancer Cells Increase DNA Mutations to Evade Treatment
Abby Olena | Nov 7, 2019
Colorectal tumor cells limit their DNA repair in response to a targeted therapy, giving them a greater chance to develop resistance to the drug.
How to Calculate Mutation Rate for Evolutionary Biology
Amber Dance | Jul 1, 2018
Four ways to study mutation rate, a crucial statistic in studies of evolution
Image of the Day: Super Spores 
The Scientist Staff | Sep 28, 2017
The deadly fungus Cryptococcus deuterogattii harbors a genetic tweak that propels its mutation rate and allows it to rapidly develop antifungal resistance.
Most of Human Genome Nonfunctional: Study
Kerry Grens | Jul 17, 2017
An estimate derived from fertility rates concludes that at least 75 percent of our DNA has no critical utility.
DNA Replication Errors Contribute to Cancer Risk
Anna Azvolinsky | Mar 23, 2017
A follow-up study confirms that random mutations acquired during normal stem cell division likely play a major role in cancer incidence.
Low Mutation Rate in iPSCs
Catherine Offord | Apr 10, 2016
The mutation rate in induced pluripotent stem cells is 10 times lower than in somatic cells, scientists show.
Estimating Epigenetic Mutation Rates
Jenny Rood | May 11, 2015
Generation-spanning maps of Arabidopsis thaliana DNA methylation allow researchers to compute how quickly epigenetic marks appear and disappear in the plant’s genome.
Ebola Mutation Rate Quibble
Jef Akst | Mar 27, 2015
A study suggests that the virus may not be evolving as quickly as a previous group estimated.
Stem Cell Divisions Help Explain Cancer Risk
Anna Azvolinsky | Jan 1, 2015
An analysis of 31 tissues finds that random mutations acquired during stem cell divisions correlate with lifetime cancer risk.  
Identifying Spurious Cancer Mutations
Dan Cossins | Jun 19, 2013
Researchers reveal why analyses of cancer-causing mutations are riddled with false positives and demonstrate a new approach that eliminates the problem.
Ginormous Genome
Sabrina Richards | May 1, 2012
Researchers find organisms with huge genomes with high mutation rates, overturning a common expectation in evolutionary biology.
Our Missing Genes
Sabrina Richards | Feb 17, 2012
New research suggests that the average person has about 20 genes with loss-of-function mutations—many more than previously suspected.
Double the Mutations
Hannah Waters | Jan 30, 2012
Irradiated sperm of young male mice induce mutations in eggs upon fertilization, a phenomenon that may pose risks for the children of cancer survivors.