Evolution is a result of gene mutation. Evolution can be thought of small-scale, how individual genes mutating creates changes, and large-scale, how species evolve from a common ancestor. Through genes being copied millions of times as individuals of a species are born over time there is inevitably some mutation. Sometimes a mutation hurts the changes for survival of an animal or plant, and it dies carrying its mutated gene without reproduction. Other times, small mutations are helpful to survival, maybe a longer neck allows for increases grazing, or bigger ears allow for better hearing, these helpful gene changes allow the plant or animal to be more successful at reproduction and they pass the gene on to their offspring. Small changes over time like this result in the bigger picture of evolution, different species emerge from a common ancestor.
Most of it, yes. However, there are some interesting cases – exceptions rather than rules. A mutation is an accidental, unintended, and in the vast majority of cases harmful change in the DNA. In the case of bacterial conjugation, this single cell organism transfers some of its DNA to another bacterium through a bridge or cell-to-cell contact, often passing useful genes such as resistance to or tolerance of foreign chemicals or an ability to digest a new food source. Another case involves viruses, which in many cases inject their DNA into the DNA of cells they infect. In this way, the virus can also bring along DNA from another bacterium by accident along with its own (this is called transduction).
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