Mutations in body cells can sometimes result in: a.  new species c.  steril offspring b.  cancer d.  hybrids

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mwmovr40 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To determine the correct answer, we must understand the difference between mutations in body cells and mutation in sex cells.

The DNA in sex cells are passed to subsequent generations in sexual reproductions.  Therefore changes in sex cells from mutations have the opportunity to effect offspring for either good or ill.  It is from these mutations that we can get new species.  Depending on where the mutation is located it might also be possible to generate sterile offspring through the mutation passed by the sex cells to the offspring, but it is more likely to get sterile offspring when genetic material for two different, but very close species are crossed--such as a donkey and a horse producing a mule.  This is also the basis for hybridization.

However, DNA from body cells can only be passed to new body cells which are being produced from that cell through the process of mitosis and cellular replacement.  Consequently these changes can not be passed to offspring in sexual reproductions.  Of the choice presented, the only one that can be a result of mutations in body cells would be the development of cancer.