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Nat Rev Genet. 2001 Jul;2(7):504-15.

Evolving responsively: adaptive mutation.

Author information

  • Departments of Molecular and Human Genetics, Biochemistry, and Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030-3411, USA. smr@bcm.tmc.edu

Erratum in

  • Nat Rev Genet 2001 Aug;2(8):645.


A basic principle of genetics is that the likelihood that a particular mutation occurs is independent of its phenotypic consequences. The concept of adaptive mutation seemed to challenge this principle with the discoveries of mutations stimulated by stress, some of which allow adaptation to the stress. The emerging mechanisms of adaptive genetic change cast evolution, development and heredity into a new perspective, indicating new models for the genetic changes that fuel these processes.

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