Emperical evidence for intraclonal genetic variation is described here for clonal systems using a variety of molecular techniques and implicating a diversity of mechanisms. However, clonal systems are still generally perceived as having strict genetic fidelity. As concepts of genetic variability move from primary sequence data to include epigenetic and structural influences on genetic expression, the ability to detect changes in the genome at short intervals allows precedence to be given to inherent biological variation that is often analytically ignored. Therefore, the advent of powerful molecular techniques, like genome mapping, mean that our concepts of genetic fidelity within eukaryotic clones and the whole philosophy of the ‘clone’ needs to be re-evaluated and re-defined to replace old unproven dogma in this aspect of science.
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