New study provides first evidence of non-random mutations in DNA

An artist’s interpretation of a double-stranded helix of DNA. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Genetic changes that crop up in an organism’s DNA may not be completely random, new research suggests. That would upend one of the key assumptions of the theory of evolution.

Researchers studying the genetic mutations in a common roadside weed, thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana), have discovered that the plant can shield the most “essential” genes in its DNA from the changes, while leaving other sections of its genome to build up more alterations. 

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