The main difference between evolution and mutation is that evolution is the process responsible for the descending of the modern organisms from ancient organisms over time whereas a mutation is a heritable change in the nucleotide sequence of the genome. Furthermore, evolution is responsible for producing organisms that are more suitable for the environment while mutation is the first step of evolution.
Evolution and mutation are two processes that bring changes to the genetic makeup of a particular organism. These alterations in the genome are heritable.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Evolution
– Definition, Types, Importance
2. What is a Mutation
– Definition, Types, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Evolution and Mutation
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Evolution and Mutation
– Comparison of Key Differences
Evolution, Germline Mutation, Macroevolution, Microevolution, Mutation, Somatic Mutation
What is Evolution
Evolution is the change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. The major driving forces of evolution are mutations, natural selection, gene flow, and genetic drift. Additionally, some sexual selection methods such as hybridization and inbreeding also lead to evolution. Moreover, evolution is responsible for continuous branching and diversification of organisms starting from a common ancestor in a process called speciation. The grand idea about evolution was first fully expounded by Charles Darwin.
Furthermore, evolution takes place in both small scale (microevolution) and grand scale (macroevolution). Mutations, gene flow, genetic drift, and natural selection are the major driving forces of microevolution while the four patterns of macroevolution are stasis, character change, speciation, and extinction. Here, some species do not change over a period of time and exist as live fossils, which is known as stasis. Meanwhile, character change is the emergence of analogous or homologous structures. In speciation, either geographical or reproductive isolation of individuals in a population lead to the emergence of new species. Additionally, most species become extinct during evolution.
What is a Mutation
A mutation is a heritable change in the nucleotide sequence of the genome. Generally, mutations can be divided into two types based on their occurrence. Some mutations are hereditary while others are acquired. Usually, germline mutations are hereditary and pass from parents to the offspring. On the other hand, somatic mutations are acquired mutations as they arise due to environmental factors or errors in DNA replication. In the meanwhile, some mutations are beneficial, giving rise to new phenotypes that best fit the environment, leading to evolution. However, other mutations are harmful and can cause diseases.
Moreover, mutations range from size as well. Therefore, they can be classified based on their effect on the genome. Some mutations known as small-scale mutations change several nucleotides in the genome. Point mutations are the alterations of single nucleotides in the genome. Although they resemble SNPs, their occurrence is rare (less than 1%) within a population. Additionally, insertions, deletions, and substitution mutations can alter more than one nucleotide of the genome. In contrast, large-scale mutation alters the structure of the chromosomes. Moreover, chromosomal rearrangements such as translocations, inversions, chromosomal crossover, etc. change the structure of chromosomes.
Similarities Between Evolution and Mutation
- Evolution and mutation are two types of alterations of the genetic makeup of a particular organism.
- They produce new characteristics in organisms.
- Also, both are responsible for making an organism best fitted to the environment.
- Moreover, they occur as small-scale and large-scale processes.
Difference Between Evolution and Mutation
Evolution refers to the process by which different kinds of living organism are believed to have developed from earlier forms during the history of the earth while a mutation refers to the changing of the structure of a gene, resulting in a variant form that may be transmitted to subsequent generations, caused by the alteration of single base units in DNA, or the deletion, insertion, or rearrangement of larger sections of genes or chromosomes.
Such that; the main difference between evolution and mutation is that the evolution is the process of descending modern organisms from earlier organisms over time while a mutation is a heritable change in the nucleotide sequence of the genome.
Also, another difference between evolution and mutation is that evolution occurs later while mutation occurs first.
Moreover, evolution is responsible for the production of a new organism that best fits the environment while a mutation is the first step of evolution. Hence, this is also a difference between evolution and mutation.
Evolution is the process of producing modern organisms from earlier organisms over time. The main importance of evolution is that it helps to produce an organism that best fits the environment. On the other hand, a mutation is a heritable change in the nucleotide sequence of the genome. It allows the production of new phenotypes driving the organism to evolution. Therefore, the main difference between evolution and mutation is their effect.
1. Carlin, J. L. (2011) Mutations Are the Raw Materials of Evolution. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):10. Available Here.