Believe it or not, many times during the DNA testing process, a type of “mutation” can occur. Whenever you hear of a mutation, the initial response can be to panic or worry that something may have gone wrong, but we’re here to make sure you don’t jump to conclusions just yet.

What exactly is a DNA mutation? Before freaking out, that’s something that we should answer. A DNA mutation is a permanent change made in the sequence of DNA; and they are more common than you think.

DNA mutations can be caused by a variety of factors; we call them exogenous or endogenous factors.

Exogenous factors are considered external and occur entirely outside a particular model. These factors can be everyday occurrences like exposure to radiation, smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke, sunlight, and/or other environment factors.

Endogenous factors, on the other hand, are considered internal forces and occur entirely within a particular model.These factors usually lie within viruses in the body.

So the next time you hear about a gene or DNA mutation, don’t panic — remember that mutations are caused by a variety of factors, and unless deadly, are completely harmless.