Mutation – UPSC Prelims

  • A mutation means an alteration in genetic material.
  • A mutation is part of the life cycle of a virus.
  • Once the virus enters a host, it begins to replicate and make copies of itself.
  • In an RNA virus such as SARS-CoV-2, proteins are made of a sequence of amino acids. Such a virus contains some 30,000 ‘base pairs’, which can be likened to bricks placed next to each other to form a structure.
  • An alteration in this base can be a mutation, effectively changing the shape and behaviour of the virus.