The variation generated by germline mutation is essential for evolution, but individuals pay a steep price in the form of Mendelian disease and genetic predisposition to complex disease. Indeed, the health of a species is determined ultimately by the rate of germline mutation. Analysis of the factor IX gene in patients with hemophilia B has provided insights into the human germline mutational process. Herein, seven topics will be reviewed with emphasis on recent advances: (i) proposed mechanisms of deletions, inversions, and insertions; (ii) discordant sex ratios of mutation and associated age effects; (iii) somatic mosaicism; (iv) founder effects; (v) mutation rates; (vi) the factor IX gene as a germline mutagen test; and (vii) cancer as a possible mechanism for maintaining a constant rate of germline mutation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology