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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

24
votes
2answers
4k 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?
23
votes
3answers
355 views

Is telomere length a reliable measure of health/lifespan?

Several companies are commercializing tests for telomere length such as this one here. I understand the basic mechanism for why telomeres shorten during DNA replication, but how good is the evidence ...
11
votes
3answers
876 views

What implications has the missing 2'-OH on the capability of DNA to form 3D structures?

The chemical difference between RNA and DNA is the missing 2'-hydroxyl group in the nucleotides that build DNA. The major effect of that change that I know of is the higher stability of DNA compared ...
16
votes
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?
42
votes
3answers
20k views

Why is uracil used in RNA rather than thymine?

What is the advantage gained by the substitution of thymine with uracil? I have read previously that it is due to thymine being "better protected" and therefore more suited to the storage role of ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Which organism has the smallest genome length?

Which animal/plant/anything has smallest length genome?
7
votes
1answer
749 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
240 views

Does DNA react in all of the ways most other acids do?

As I understand it from my basic chemistry, there are some fundamental reactions that exist between any acid and other substances for example acid-base reactions that form a salt, and the existence of ...
4
votes
1answer
145 views

Can forensic DNA analysis be used to generate a visual approximation of a suspect?

In light of the current US supreme court case, I'm curious if enough information can be teased out of a DNA sample to get a "reasonable" approximation of the suspect (never mind the legality). I ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Why are 3 nucleotides used as codons for amino-acid mapping in DNA?

DNA is made of 4 unique nucleotides. When coding for a protein, a sequence of 3 nucleotides is used to code for each amino acid. Why are codons 3 nucleotides in length? A related question can be ...
32
votes
4answers
2k views

Life without DNA?

I'm by no means an expert in the field, merely a curious visitor, but I've been thinking about this and Google isn't of much help. Do we know of any lifeforms that don't have the conventional ...
30
votes
2answers
933 views

How do cockroaches resist the effects of ionizing radiation?

Cockroaches are very hardy insects. It is known that, among other things, they are able to withstand bursts of ionizing radiation that would kill a human being. The explanations of this observed ...
4
votes
1answer
129 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 ...
24
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
187 views

What is the prehistory of amino acids in cells?

As a followup to Why 20 amino acids instead of 64? and What is the smallest number of amino acids required for life?, I am trying to understand the prehistory of amino acids in cells. All living ...
10
votes
1answer
336 views

How do CpG islands remain unmethylated?

In most of the genome CpG sites are pretty much always methylated, but CpG islands are instead often unmethylated. This has been linked to the fact that they often are associated to transcripted ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Do apes and humans share 99% of DNA or 99% of genes? What is the difference?

I made an answer on the Scifi.SE that can be read here. It is about how the characters in the story Jurassic Park might have gotten DNA for all the species shown. In my answer, I said this: Apes ...
13
votes
3answers
34k views

Why is DNA replication performed in the 5' to 3' direction?

DNA replication goes in the 5' to 3' direction because DNA polymerase acts on the 3'-OH of the existing strand for adding free nucleotides. Is there any biochemical reason why all organisms evolved to ...
4
votes
1answer
183 views

Effect of single nucleotide deletion or insertion on primer annealing

How is primer annealing, and, consequently, PCR amplification affected by single nucleotide deletion or insertion inside the primer ? Imagine a primer like this: GCGTCATAAAGGGGACGTG (primer) and ...
3
votes
0answers
41 views

enzymes that stabilize DNA loops

As a follow-up of a previous question, I would like to know what enzymes or protein complexes have been used to manipulate DNA samples into stabilizing DNA loops. I have read that cohesin is one of ...
14
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
199 views

Abiogenesis: Beyond the research journals as a lead in to discussions on evolution

I just came across this abstract: Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are responsible for creating the pool of correctly charged aminoacyl-tRNAs that are necessary for the translation of genetic ...
9
votes
3answers
372 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
243 views

What kind of event would cause the current Mitochondrial Eve to be replaced by a new one?

Apparently all living humans are matrilineal descendants of a single woman who lived 200.000 years ago. She is called Mitochondrial Eve. But at the time she lived there was a different matrilineal ...
6
votes
1answer
75 views

What are the costs associated with carrying lots of genetic material

What are the costs (if any) associated with carrying lots of genetic material? energy for copying? raw material for copying? space in the cell? Maintenance cost (matter and energy)? time to copy is ...
5
votes
2answers
184 views

How to find Exons in mRNA Computationally

I'm having trouble finding a method to find exons in the original DNA sequence used to create the mRNA, even given the sequence of the mRNA, as I cannot find a way to reliably identify the beginning ...
2
votes
1answer
238 views

Why do three nucleotides code for one amino acid? Why not 5 nucleotides? [duplicate]

We all know why there are 3-base codons, and why there aren't any 2-base codons. But why is there not a 4-base a 5-base codon?
2
votes
2answers
220 views

Transcription factor binding site located in intron

I have noticed that some TF binding sites are located in the introns of the genes. I am puzzled about whether the TF only binds to DNA in the initiation stage of transcription and will detach during ...
2
votes
1answer
98 views

Expanding the SETI initiative to seek intelligent data within DNA sequences?

I've recently read a couple articles dealing with long term data storage, and DNA was suggested as one of the prime candidates for long term storage of digital data additionally, there is this article ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

circularizing DNA molecules?

I have been reading about next-generation sequencing technologies that can sequence long reads. Even though the origin of my question is sequencing technologies, the question I am asking is about the ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

How does DNA mess up

When there is an error in copying DNA (a mutation), what exactly goes wrong? If G goes with C and A goes with T, I don't see how that part can mess up. Is the idea that when the double helix is ...