Purpose

A mutation is a change in the base sequence of DNA. Recall that the flow of information within a cell proceeds as DNA is transcribed to an mRNA strand and then translated into protein. Therefore, we can expect mutations in microbial DNA to effect protein structure and function if the change occurred in the gene that coded for that protein. Because DNA is replicated before binary fission occurs, we can also expect that mutations will be copied and transmitted to future generations.

Dr. Gen E. Tics, an crazy microbial geneticist who always presenting wild ideas, is studying mutation in bacteria. This time he has formulated a hypothesis concerning the causes of mutations in bacterial DNA. He has predicted that a mutation will only occur in bacterial DNA if some mutagen, certain chemicals or radiation that cause mutation, is present. He states that DNA replication and repair are perfect processes and no mistakes could ever occur naturally without the intervention of a mutagen. The doctor has called this hypothesis the "Mutagens Only Hypothesis" because a mutagen must be present for a mutation to occur.

You, a very curious microbiologist, have decided to test this hypothesis. After weeks of experiments and research, you compile all of your results. Your purpose is to analyze these results (click the results button found in the left margin) and determine if Dr. Gen E. Tics is right.