In a new study in Current Biology, researchers have found that it's fairly common for multiple mutations to happen at once in DNA, says Scientific American's Steve Mirsky. In a podcast detailing the study, Mirsky says the researchers explored the genomes of various mutlicellular organisms, from yeast to humans, and found that about 3 percent of all mutations are actually mutiples. "A likely explanation is that some polymerase enzyme is particularly prone to errors when it's weaving a strand of DNA," Mirsky adds. The multiple mutations could allow for a faster rate of evolution, the researchers say.
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Jun 03, 2011