DNA Mutations and Disease
Our genes can also be a source of disease.
Small breaks in our DNA are incredibly common and are normally uneventful. DNA breaks can happen from sunlight, for example, or during cell divisions that happen as we grow. Our cells have built-in DNA repair processes that constantly fix these breaks as they occur.
However, breaks are sometimes repaired incorrectly, creating what is known as a mutation. Mutations can occur spontaneously or be passed down from our parents. Mutations can also change how our cells function, and may lead to serious diseases such as sickle cell disease (SCD), Leber congenital amaurosis 10 (LCA10), cancer, and many others.