The literary data concerning specific aspects of the mechanisms of spontaneous and induced mutagenesis were reviewed. Their studying will allow to broaden conception about the role of mutations in species formation and evolution of the organic world and will also make it possible to predict the intensity and nature of mutation changes in natural populations of technogenic polluted areas. Three different approaches as to the nature of occurrence of spontaneous point mutations are emphasized: tautomer hypothesis; ionization mechanism; the approach which operates incorrect pairs of DNA bases in a main, canonic tautomer form as a source of mutation. It is stated that a chemical-physical property of incorrect pairs of DNA bases with Watson-Crick and wobble-architectures, which is connected with the controlling of highly stable transitive pairs, is a new key to the understanding of the nature of spontaneous point mutagenesis. The conditions which ensure the realization of primary damages of DNA in mutation are discussed. A special role is played by the efficiency of reparation processes which is different when amounts of dose mutagen load are different. The evidence is presented that prove the increase of mutation frequency, resulted from abrupt changes of the environmental conditions, which cause the activation of nucleotide sequences, which do not code proteins, mobile genetic elements of different classes and sequences which correspond to small RNA. The mechanisms of induced mutagenesis under the impact of high and low doses of ionization radiation and chemical mutagens were described. It has been shown that non-target effects, induced by radiation with a small energy linear transfer, are associated with the formation of genotoxic compounds and the weakening of the rate of DNA reparation processes. Chemical mutagenic factors induce the increase of frequency and disorders of DNA molecules, what is caused by high affinity between chemical mutagens and structures of genetic material. Chemical mutagens at low and moderate concentrations can induce high frequency of point mutations and a low level of chromosome reconstructions; at high concentrations they show radio-mimetic properties. Further studying of the mechanisms of spontaneous mutagenesis and genetic response of biological systems to external stresses will enable the search for new mutagenic factors which will cause a high level of organism variability directed by a plant-breeder, and will help identify the ways how to avoid their negative genetic consequences in case of they ingress into environment.
Keywords: mutagenesis mechanisms, spontaneous and induced mutations, reparation systems, primary damages of DNA, non-target effects
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