Tagged Questions

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the carrier of genetic information, including for all known living organisms. The only known exceptions are RNA viruses.

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14
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2answers
2k views

Is there an advantage to linear chromosomes?

The DNA copying enzymes have a hard time working to the end of a chromosome. For circular chromosomes this is not a problem, since there is not a sharp 'end'. However, for a linear chromosome, without ...
4
votes
1answer
140 views

How does “inheritance of methylation” of DNA and/or histones work?

What are the current models/ideas describing the mechanisms explaining inheritance of methylation on DNA resp. histone level? Is there evidance of this "setup" information being really ...
3
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3answers
6k views

Evolutionarily speaking, why do humans have 46 chromosomes

In humans, each cell normally contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46. Monkeys, chimpanzees, and Apes have 24 pairs (twenty-four pairs), for a total of 48. What caused humans to have 46? ...
8
votes
3answers
202 views

What would need to be discovered to prove there is extraterrestrial life?

Curiosity is on the Martian surface and is equipped with a slew of laboratory equipment. What would Curiosity need to discover to prove there is or has been life on Mars? Would it have to find DNA (or ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do DNA and RNA have the functions they have?

I know that there are two most important directions of genetic information transfer in living organisms: DNA->DNA and DNA->RNA. The first is replication, and the second is transcription. I wonder if ...
8
votes
1answer
700 views

Does every mitochondrion in a cell contain the same DNA?

I know that mitochondria of eukaryotes have their own DNA, more similar to that of bacteria than to the rest of the cell's DNA. I also know that a cell can have plenty of mitochondria, and I ...
8
votes
1answer
127 views

How realistic is to use DNA for long term storage?

This is mainly a followup question to the recent paper Next-Generation Digital Information Storage in DNA. Personally, while I agree about the data density of the format, I can't help point out the ...
6
votes
1answer
68 views

(Rough) Model for DNA evolution in E. coli genes

I need a model of in-gene DNA drift. I'm not interested in bacterial phylogenies alone. Here is what I understand: Sequences corresponding to genes have both exons and introns, but in bacteria the ...
6
votes
1answer
84 views

DNA modifications other than 5-mC/5-hmC/5-fC/5-caC in vertebrate genomes?

Other than 5-Methylcytosine and the more recently discovered 5-Hydroxymethyl, 5-formil and 5-carboxylcytosine DNA modifications found in DNA sequences, what are other DNA modifications present in ...
17
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4answers
2k views

Why are there exactly four nucleobases in DNA?

Does someone know why DNA is composed of four nucleobases? In particular, is there an explanation for the number? Why four and not two, or eight?
5
votes
1answer
433 views

Primer Dimer / Hairpin Algorithms

What are the algorithms / methods in use for the calculation of primer dimers and hairpins? As an example, IDT's OligoAnalyzer tool will generate these analysis given particular sequences. The ...
7
votes
1answer
71 views

How does one measure the length of telomeres?

My questions are: What techniques are available for doing so? Are they destructive ? What is their accuracy ?
3
votes
1answer
746 views

What happens when cells in your body run out of telomeres?

In my biology book I read about an experiment where the genes encoding telomerase were 'knocked out', but they could still live a normal life and no adverse effects were noticed until the 6th ...
3
votes
1answer
189 views

What is the DNA/protein charge ratio?

To study DNA-protein interaction, I want to do a DNA retardation test by mixing the protein with DNA and afterwarts loading it on an agarose gel to see if the DNA migrates slower. I've found some ...
6
votes
1answer
146 views

Are there any DNA base sequences that are fully conserved between the genomes of all humans?

That is, they don't differ throughout the entire population. I understand of course that we can't DNA sequence every human, so by "fully" I mean there's an incredibly small probability of there being ...
12
votes
4answers
516 views

Why did high A+T content create problems for the Plasmodium falciparum genome project?

The main paper for the Plasmodium palciparum genome project (Gardner et al., 2002) repeatedly mentioned that the unusually high A+T content (~80%) of the genome caused problems. For example they imply ...
3
votes
2answers
124 views

How distantly related are eusocial insects? Aren't members of a species much more related than 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How many genes do we share with our mother? I went to a lecture that talked about the behavior of social insects in terms of their relatedness of genes. For instance, ...
6
votes
1answer
362 views

How can I predict DNA binding affinities from a protein sequence?

Are there any computational tools to predict the binding affinity to specific DNA motifs from protein domain sequence information?
8
votes
1answer
441 views

How many gigabytes of DNA are there on earth?

The human genome is about 770 MB, the C. elegans genome is about 100 MB, the yeast S. cerevisiae is about 12 MB. Different other genomes have been sequenced: how many GB of genomic DNA we have now? ...
5
votes
2answers
97 views

Do somatic cells alter their own nucleotide sequence?

I seem to remember reading that embryonic cells will frequently replicate the section of their genome containing rDNA by splicing in duplicate genes. The cells use this to produce ribosomes at a rate ...
5
votes
2answers
179 views

Are there other mechanisms for mutation besides imperfect DNA replication?

I was reading http://www.askamathematician.com/2012/05/q-is-quantum-randomness-ever-large-enough-to-be-noticed/ and saw: [...] the evolution of entire species can be changed by a single mistake ...
13
votes
2answers
223 views

What is the contribution of viruses to the evolution of mankind?

I'm interested in horizontal gene transfer in bacteria, viruses, and organisms such as Bdelloid Rotifers. I've just read in Carl Zimmer's 'A Planet of Viruses' the following passage: As a host ...
3
votes
2answers
113 views

What risk to DNA does long-term exposure to low-dose radiation pose?

A new study from MIT scientists suggests that long-term exposure to low-radiation poses no risk of DNA damage for mice (it is also important to note that mice are unusually susceptible to cancer). So ...
5
votes
2answers
667 views

How long is DNA stable in a freezer?

Inspired by the post about extracting pet DNA, how long would genomic DNA be stable for in a -20°C freezer? It is common practice to store DNA (double-stranded, plasmid) in a -20°C freezer in ...
8
votes
2answers
128 views

What is the effective relatedness of inbreeding?

If a human inbreeds with a relative, how distant does the relative have to be before the homozygosity in the child is no higher than if the mate were randomly chosen from the global population?
10
votes
1answer
2k views

How to DIY preserve pet DNA today so that it can be used in 20 years

I know that there are companies that offer a kit+storage of your pet DNA for around $2k. My question is if there is any other option for doing this yourself with a thought in mind that in 20+ years ...
7
votes
1answer
82 views

How do nuclear receptors locate each other to form a DNA loop?

Nuclear receptors can influence transcription far up- or downstream from their own binding sites by looping DNA (Rubina et al.; J Mol Bio 2004). I am not sure how exactly the receptors first attach ...
-4
votes
1answer
239 views

DNA chip contains a complete set of random hexanucleotide (6-mers) probes? (Solve) [closed]

can you tell me how to find solution to this question A DNA chip contains a complete set of random hexanucleotide (6-mers) probes. Out of the 4^6 = 4096 probes, how many will form perfect ...
8
votes
1answer
219 views

Finding DNA from Amino Acid sequence problem

My attempt: First I took the single letter AA codes and made them amino acids. So, the first one is Trp which is 5'-UGG-3'. From this I got the DNA sequence 3'-CCA-5'. However, the correct ...
4
votes
1answer
343 views

Finding exons in DNA problem

My attempt: I looked for the TACs because I thought this would be AUG in mRNA and ultimately Methionine (the start codon). But apparently, that's not how you do this problem. Im confused because ...
12
votes
3answers
10k views

How many agarose gel bands are typical for circularised DNA

I am aware that circular DNA can be both relaxed and super coiled. However when running an agarose gel of the circular plasmid along with singly digested plasmid with BamHI and HindIII, I see 1 band ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

Generating custom human DNA sequences based on traits such as eye colour?

I'm wondering if it would be possible to create software (unless some already exists, but I couldn't find any) to generate human DNA (the base pairs on the double helix) containing genes representing ...
2
votes
2answers
93 views

Consensus codon optimization by organism

Does a public database exist that contains this information? I'm trying to make a simple gene annotation program that will let me input a DNA sequence and then optimize it based on one of these tables ...
9
votes
3answers
391 views

Source of DNA sequences

I'm working on a project where I am taking DNA sequences and translating the codons into musical notes. I have some good ideas of how to do this, I'm just not sure what sequences to work with. My case ...
6
votes
3answers
366 views

What's the use of DNA sequencing results?

Suppose I sequence DNA of some organism (a human perhaphs) and now I have the entire DNA "string" - the sequence of nucleotides. What's the use of that? It's just a "string" where nucleotides encode ...
28
votes
4answers
2k views

What exactly are computers used for in DNA sequencing?

I've thoroughly read the Wikipedia article on DNA sequencing and can't get one thing. There's some hardcore chemistry involved in the process that somehow splits the DNA and then isolates its parts. ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Altering the human genome

I recently had a conversation with a rather unusual gentleman who was, let's say, more than a little partial to conspiracy theories. He has this idea that governments are lowering "nanowires" from ...
25
votes
3answers
9k views

Why do eukaryotic organisms have introns in their DNA?

We touched on introns and exons in my bio class, but unfortunately we didn't really talk about why Eukaryotes have introns. It would seem they would have to have some purpose since prokaryotes do not ...
9
votes
3answers
194 views

Does GFAJ-1 use Adenosine triarsenate as its energy currency?

Regarding the bacteria found in Mono Lake, CA that scientists believe uses or can use arsenic in its DNA backbone where life as we know it uses phosphorus (according to their experiments depriving the ...
5
votes
2answers
93 views

Synthetic biology using existing cells

I was watching the video at this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17436365 The speaker says that a cell is taken and its original DNA content is stripped out and replaced with ...
11
votes
1answer
590 views

Why is the 3'UTR region highly methylated in most of the human genes?

Most of the human genes are found to be highly methylated in their 3'UTR region (0.8-0.9%). I was wondering if there is any specific reason for this?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Basic Amino Acid Residue Binding Mechanism to DNA

I understand that many protein DNA binding domains bind to DNA via basic residues such as Arginine and Lysine. But what is the mechanism used to bind to DNA and where on the DNA would these residues ...
12
votes
3answers
336 views

What is Curved DNA?

CbpA is DNA binding protein found in E. coli and binds non-specifically to curved DNA (Cosgriff et al., 2010), when the bacterium is in a static phase of growth. The use of "curved DNA" confuses me. ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Which organism has the smallest genome length?

Which animal/plant/anything has smallest length genome?
7
votes
3answers
122 views

Free Radicals for aging

From my understanding free radicals play a slight role in ageing. In what ways are they so damaging, and can a restricted diet reduce production of free radicals?
15
votes
2answers
241 views

Can methylation from DNA get copied to RNA during transcription?

Methylation on gene-body and 3'UTRs if copied to mRNA can potentially regulate post-transcription modifications or expression regulation. But I'm not sure if they are maintained after transcription or ...
11
votes
4answers
268 views

What can you tell about a person, having only their whole genome as information?

Well, the question is in the title, no explanation need.
10
votes
2answers
184 views

Can DNA produce ribozyme-like structures?

RNA is known to act as an enzyme via its ability to fold itself in specific ways. Is DNA capable of such structures? Or is it some biochemical reason stopping the folding? Have they been observed in ...
7
votes
1answer
852 views

Does extracted DNA degrade after a certain time period?

For direct use as template in PCR runs. Chelex 100 5-10% w/v extraction. Without listing the whole protocol, in the end the supernate is decanted off and then stored at 4°C. I was under the impression ...
25
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the advantage of circular DNA in bacteria?

From what I understand, bacteria have circular DNA. What advantages does it have over linear strands like for eukaryotes? Do there exist bacteria with more than one ring of DNA?