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Nat Rev Genet. 2000 Oct;1(1):40-7.

The origins, patterns and implications of human spontaneous mutation.

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  • 1Genetics Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


The germline mutation rate in human males, especially older males, is generally much higher than in females, mainly because in males there are many more germ-cell divisions. However, there are some exceptions and many variations. Base substitutions, insertion-deletions, repeat expansions and chromosomal changes each follow different rules. Evidence from evolutionary sequence data indicates that the overall rate of deleterious mutation may be high enough to have a large effect on human well-being. But there are ways in which the impact of deleterious mutations can be mitigated.

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