Related topics: cancer cells · chromosomes · dna damage

A prebiotic route to DNA

DNA may have appeared on Earth earlier than has hitherto been assumed. LMU chemists led by Oliver Trapp show that a simple reaction pathway could have given rise to DNA subunits on the early Earth.

An effective sweeper closes DNA replication cycling

DNA replication is essential for living organisms to faithfully deliver genetic information from parental cells to daughter cells. Many proteins are assembled on the parental DNA to work as replication machineries. Among ...

DNA copying machine a master of resource recycling

Researchers at the University of Wollongong's (UOW) Molecular Horizons initiative have shed new light on how an important but not well understood protein goes about its vital role of reducing errors and mutations in DNA replication.

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DNA replication

DNA replication, the basis for biological inheritance, is a fundamental process occurring in all living organisms to copy their DNA. This process is "semiconservative" in that each strand of the original double-stranded DNA molecule serves as template for the reproduction of the complementary strand. Hence, following DNA replication, two identical DNA molecules have been produced from a single double-stranded DNA molecule. Cellular proofreading and error-checking mechanisms ensure near perfect fidelity for DNA replication.

In a cell, DNA replication begins at specific locations in the genome, called "origins". Unwinding of DNA at the origin, and synthesis of new strands, forms a replication fork. In addition to DNA polymerase, the enzyme that synthesizes the new DNA by adding nucleotides matched to the template strand, a number of other proteins are associated with the fork and assist in the initiation and continuation of DNA synthesis.

DNA replication can also be performed in vitro (outside a cell). DNA polymerases, isolated from cells, and artificial DNA primers are used to initiate DNA synthesis at known sequences in a template molecule. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a common laboratory technique, employs such artificial synthesis in a cyclic manner to amplify a specific target DNA fragment from a pool of DNA.

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