This can refer to any of a number of DNA mutations which results in a change in the protein encoded by the mutated gene, such as point mutations, insertion or deletion mutations (frameshift mutations), or nonsense mutations.

More often this refers to mutations involving chromosomes, such as the inversion of part of one chromosome such that the inverted part no longer matches with its homologous pair, a translocation of one part of a chromosome to a different chromosome, deletions of parts of chromosomes, or accidents which happen during the division of the nucleus like the unequal portioning of chromosomes between the daughter cells.

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