In biology, a mutation is a permanent alteration of the nucleotide sequence of the genome of
an organism, virus, or extrachromosomal DNA or other genetic elements. Mutations result from damage to DNA which is not repaired, errors in the process of replication, or from the insertion or deletion of segments of DNA by mobile genetic elements. Mutations may or may not produce discernible changes in the observable characteristics (phenotype) of an organism. Mutations play a part in both normal and abnormal biological processes including: evolution, cancer, and the development of the immune system, including junctional diversity.