How Does New Genetic Information Evolve? Part 1: Point Mutations

Point mutations are the simplest natural mechanisms known to increase the genetic information of a population.


This film is the first of a two part series on the evolution of new genetic information. Here we focus on Point Mutations – the simplest natural mechanisms known to increase the genetic information of a population. Our second film of the series will focuses on gene duplications – natural mutations that increase the total amount of genetic information of an individual.

Point mutations are small, natural edits in the DNA or RNA sequence of an individual. These edits only change a single nucleotide (or letter) and can be passed from parent to child. While they don’t increase the length of an individuals genome, they do increase genetic diversity of a population: they create new alleles.

In this film you will see several examples of beneficial point mutations observed in the lab, in domestic animals, and deduced in wild animals. These mutations are considered beneficial because they enhanced their hosts’ chances at survival and reproduction within a their specific environments.

Explore Further

Stated Clearly article detailing all the experiments talked about in this animation:

Scientific papers about point mutations in bacteria:

Scientific paper about point mutations in dogs:

Scientific paper about point mutations in wild animals:

For Teachers

The content of this video meets criteria in the following Disciplinary Core Ideas defined by Next Generation Science Standards. Use our videos to supplement classroom curriculum.


Our videos benefit from guidance and advice provided by experts in science and education. This animation is the result of collaboration between the following scientists, educators, and our team of creatives.

  • Jon Perry
  • Jeremiah Deasey
  • Anthony Danzl
  • Rosemary Mosco
  • Tyler Proctor
  • Eric T. Parker, PhD
  • Nancy Miorelli, MSc
  • Nicholas Casewell, PhD