genetic instability

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A term that generally refers to chromosomal or other wide-scale genetic alterations that vary from cell to cell. They often arise from an overall deficit in systems that control the replication or repair of DNA or the checkpoints (q.v.) of the cell cycle. Widespread instabilities may also be caused by transposable elements (q.v.) or breakage-fusion-bridge cycles (q.v.) due to chromosome aberrations. See DNA repair, Dotted, helicase, mitotic arrest-deficient (mad) mutations, mutator genes, RAD9. Contrast with genomic instability.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics.

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