Slippage – Innovations

 Slipped strand mispairing (SSM), (also known as replication slippage), is a mutation process which occurs during DNA replication. It involves denaturation and displacement of the DNA strands, resulting in mispairing of the complementary bases. Slipped strand mispairing is one explanation for the origin and evolution of repetitive DNA sequences. It is a form of mutation that leads to either a trinucleotide or dinucleotide expansion, or sometimes contraction, during DNA replication. A slippage event normally occurs when a sequence of repetitive nucleotides (tandem repeats) are found at the site of replication. Tandem repeats are unstable regions of the genome where frequent insertions and deletions of nucleotides can take place, resulting in genome rearrangements. DNA polymerase, the main enzyme to catalyze the polymerization of free deoxyribonucleotides into a newly forming DNA strand, plays a significant role in the occurrence of this mutation. When DNA polymerase encounters a direct repeat, it can undergo a replication slippage. Strand slippage may also occur during the DNA synthesis step of DNA repair processes. Within DNA trinucleotide repeat sequences, the repair of DNA damage by the processes of homologous recombination, non-homologous end joining, DNA mismatch repair or base excision repair may involve strand slippage mispairing leading to trinucleotide repeat expansion when the repair is completed.  

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