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I was researching mutations and came across an interesting question: Do mutations occur in the DNA or mRNA of an organism? Is this more opinion that science?

Thanks in advance!

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  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by opinion? $\endgroup$
    – Karl Kjer
    Jan 30, 2018 at 0:36

2 Answers 2

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DNA. mRNA is transcribed from DNA.

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  • $\begingroup$ specifically I assume that the mRNA base changes are a result of the exons, correct? $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2018 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ A more complete answer would be great (I could write it myself but I just wanted to give you some ideas if you wanted to expand your answer). It could be stated for example that not all mutations will ever be transcribed and that of course if there is a mutation in a coding region that is being expressed, then you'll find the mutation in the mRNA also. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Jan 30, 2018 at 0:39
  • $\begingroup$ Simple questions are best answered with simple answers. You can have your opinions, but in my opinion, I am often annoyed by long winded answers. $\endgroup$
    – Karl Kjer
    Jan 30, 2018 at 0:45
  • $\begingroup$ @KarlKjer Fair enough. +1 $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Jan 30, 2018 at 16:22
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From Wikipedia:

A mutation is the permanent alteration of the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organism, virus, or extrachromosomal DNA or other genetic elements.

The key word here is genome. A mutation is defined as something occurring in the genome, and the genome of living beings is made of DNA. Hence, mutations arise in the DNA.

A special case concerns viruses (which, for the record, are often not considered living beings): they can have a RNA genome, so they can have mutations in the RNA.

BUT!

This does not mean that mRNA transcription is an error-free process! As an example, this link gives you a nice overview on the error rate in transcription and translation,which apparently are quite high. It's just that, by definition, mutations arise in the genome.

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