Flexi Says: A frameshift mutation is a deletion or insertion of one or more nucleotides that changes the reading frame of the base sequence. Deletions remove nucleotides, and insertions add nucleotides. Consider the following sequence of bases in RNA: AUG-AAU-ACG-GCU = start-asparagine-threonine-alanine Now, assume an insertion occurs in this sequence. Let’s say an A nucleotide is inserted after the start codon AUG: AUG-AAA-UAC-GGC-U = start-lysine-tyrosine-glycine Even though the rest of the sequence is unchanged, this insertion changes the reading frame and thus all of the codons that follow it. As this example shows, a frameshift mutation can dramatically change how the codons in mRNA are read. This can have a drastic effect on the protein product.