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What is a spontaneous genetic mutation?

A mutation can either be inherited from a parent or may arise in an affected person for the first time -- this is called a spontaneous or new mutation. However, the spontaneous mutation typically occurs at such an early stage of development that it is present in all the cells, including sperm and egg cells. This means that the mutation can then be passed to future generations. If the mutation occurs later in development it may not be present in all the cells -- this is called mosaicism. The risks to future generations are less clear in these situations.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.