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! Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or DNA, is the instruction manual for all living things.

It tells cells what proteins to make so our bodies can work smoothly. There are many ways that DNA can become mutated or damaged. Everyday things like exposure to radiation (X-rays or UV rays) and various chemicals can cause a change. The impact on a persons DNA can range from just a small change in base pairs, that doesn't change the protein, to cell death, or even cancer.! ! Mutagens are human made agents that alter structure and sequence of DNA. Chemicals are mutagens and some chemicals can cause serious problems. Some chemicals change the helix of the DNA and cause insertions or deletions (Clancy, 2008). On rare occasions these mutations can create a resistance to certain diseases. Base analogs resemble purines and pyrimidines and may take the place of normal bases (Montelone, 1998). This will cause wrong proteins to be made. Intercalating agents interact with bases and insert between them. This tricks DNA polymerase to add another base opposite it and causes frame shifts (a shift in reading frames of mRNA codons, causes di"erent amino acids to be made) (Montelone, 1998). Some agents also cause inter- or intra-strand cross linking (Figure 1), this prevents replication and can cause the cell to die. Most mutagens just attack the DNA and damage the structure which will also prevent replication (McMahon, 2014). Extensive mutagen exposure can lead to a sort of genetic time bomb that wont appear or cause problems for multiple generations.! ! Radiation causes damage to DNA and this can cause many types of mutations such as cancer. Radiation is measured by wave length. The longest waves have the least energy. The shorter the wave, the more energy it has, and the more damage it causes (Montelone, 1998). We are exposed to radiation everyday. We get some from cosmic rays from the sun and outer space and some are from elements from the earth (Montelone, 1998). Radiation can cause breaks in strands, insertions or deletions, losses of bases, and cross linking of DNA (Montelone, 1998). Some types have more negative e"ects like x rays and gamma rays. They create energized ions so its called ionizing radiation and it causes damage to proteins and to DNA (Montelone, 1998). Radiation is a part of our everyday life so we need to be careful with the amount of time spent

exposed to it. ! ! Everyday things, like chemicals and radiation, can cause mutations and damage to DNA. Mutagens are human made agents that alter the structure of DNA. Many chemicals are mutagens so they can damage DNA and cause mutations or cell death. Radiation can destroy bases or the structure of DNA and cause cell death or mutations such as cancer. Both of these can be very dangerous, but there is a very low chance to get a good mutation that may give disease immunity. Everybody needs to be careful when exposed to the everyday things because it may cause serious problems in the long run.! ! ! ! ! A. Suzanne, Clancy. "Genetic Mutation." Nature Publishing Group, 2008. Web. 27 Jan. 2014.! ! B. Beth, Montelone A. "Mutation, Mutagens, and DNA Repair Outline." Mutation, Mutagens, and DNA Repair. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.! ! C. "Mutagen." Princeton University. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2014! ! D. McMahon, Mary, and O. Wallace. "What Is a Mutagen?" WiseGeek. Conjecture, 15 Jan. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2014! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

! Figure 1. Exposure to radiation and some chemicals can cause inter and intra strand cross linking. This shows what intra-strand cross linking looks like! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !