Describe how mutations lead to genetic variations.
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Mutations produce random changes in an organism's genetic code. Mutations can occur in non-reproductive cells and then they will not be passed to the next generation, thereforу will not contribute to genetic variation. Only mutations that occur in reproductive cells are passed on to the next generations and contribute to genetic variation in a population.
The random changes a mutation causes to an organisms genetic code causes either
1. A different protein to be produced or
2. none at all
Mutations can either have a positive, negative or neutral (the vast majority) effect on the organism. (many times whether they are harmful or helpful depends on the environment.)
When a mutation makes an organism better able to survive that organism is more likely to survive and pass the mutated gene onto the next generation.