Deletion (also called gene deletion, deficiency, or deletion mutation) (sign: Δ) is a mutation (a genetic aberration) in which a part of a chromosome or a sequence of DNA is lost during DNA replication. Any number of nucleotides can be deleted, from a single base to an entire piece of chromosome.
The smallest single base deletion mutations are believed to occur by a single base flipping in the template DNA, followed by template DNA strand slippage, within the DNA polymerase active site.
Deletions can be caused by errors in chromosomal crossover during meiosis, which causes several serious genetic diseases. Deletions that do not occur in multiples of three bases can cause a frameshift by changing the 3-nucleotide protein reading frame of the genetic sequence.