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Random mutagenesis is the process of introducing non-specific mutations into the genome of an organism or in a specific gene of interest to create a mutant phenotype. Common methods for inducing random mutations include error-prone PCR, replication of a gene in a mutator strain of bacteria, insertional mutagenesis with transposons, chemical mutagenesis, and DNA shuffling. When selecting a method for mutagenesis it is important to consider the desired mutation rate. Methods with higher mutation rates, such as chemical mutagenesis, can lead to several mutations in a single gene and require more time to validate the mutations responsible for mutant phenotypes. Methods with lower mutation rates, like insertional mutagenesis, may require more effort to obtain a desired phenotype, but often incorporate methods to simplify the identification of the responsible mutation. Two general uses of random mutagenesis include the generation of conditional mutant libraries and the identification of functional regions of a protein. (Credit: Brooke Anderson-White)
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