The scientific study of the structure and function of genes at the molecular level, particularly chromosomes and DNA.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

30
votes
3answers
15k 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
590 views

Regulation of chromatin structure

Recently, I reviewed the different levels of chromatin structure. The primary level is nucleosomes, where DNA is bound to histones, and has structural similarity to "beads on a string." The secondary ...
17
votes
3answers
274 views

What is the reason behind choosing the reporter gene when experimenting on your gene of interest?

I noticed within example experiments in class that different reporter genes are chosen to be inserted near your gene of interest to prove whether or not the gene is being expressed. For example, you ...
14
votes
1answer
206 views

Paralogous genes in genome-wide association studies?

Has anybody tested if paralogous genes are over-represented among the genes identified by genome-wide association studies (GWAS)? For example, if a GWAS study finds 200 genes associated to the ...
12
votes
1answer
335 views

Can DNA act as a translation substrate?

I get conflicting answers. One would think if it was true, it would be rather seminal and widely known. There are papers from Khorana[1], Holland[2], and Bretscher[3] (late 60s) that suggest that it ...
11
votes
1answer
547 views

What is the functional and structural distinction between core (H2A, H2B, H3,H4) and linker(H1/H5) histones?

Many explanations of histone biochemistry isn't quite elucidating for the undergraduate student. How does histone structure (dimers, octomers) relate to their specific functions as core or linker ...
11
votes
1answer
336 views

Do single crossovers occur in circular polynucleotides?

Single crossovers in circular pieces of DNA do not seem to be a big topic, because if they happened, they would lead to a kind of combined chromosome with two inner strands and one large outer strand. ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Does a man contain all the genes needed to make a woman?

This question is brought on by a Sci Fi novel I am thinking about writing. The plot device involves a colonist in charge of building a population on a new planet who loses his supply of embryos and so ...
10
votes
2answers
542 views

What is the highest competency possible for E coli?

I am looking to find a highly competent E coli strain. I am making a library of a ~6.6kb plasmid and I am not getting high enough efficiency. Does anyone have a suggestion of a strain/protocol with ...
10
votes
2answers
823 views

Are all mutagens carcinogens?

Not all carcinogens are mutagens. Alcohol and estrogen, for example, does not damage DNA. It's one of the assumptions of the Ames test that mutagenicity implies carcinogenicity, but is this always ...
10
votes
2answers
495 views

How does the genetic code evolve?

After looking at this question, some other questions poped in my mind. The DNA code is redundant, there are 20 amino acids for 64 possible nucleotide combinations. Therefore some amino acid are coded ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

How does the stem-loop cause intrinsic transcription termination?

In this animation, towards the end (about three quarters) the process of transcription termination is shown. It states that the transcribed RNA forms a hairpin loop (or stem-loop), which halts the ...
9
votes
3answers
259 views

Are the number of base pairs in a given chromosome same between different individuals?

This is a basic question but I couldn't find an answer through a web search; hopefully this is the right place to ask. Is the number of base pairs in a particular chromosome the same in all ...
9
votes
3answers
821 views

Methods of nuclear transfection - nuclear transport

I am reading through the ENCODE papers, which is taking me well out of my comfort zone in terms of modern laboratory techniques. At the risk of asking a question which may well be thoroughly answered ...
9
votes
1answer
192 views

RNA migrating slower than DNA on Formaldehyde Gel?

So I ran into an interesting problem. I'm getting a linear DNA band that is twice as long (4x bases, but as denatured probably only 2x) as an RNA band running at the same size in a formaldehyde gel. ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the aim of genetically modifying of foods/organisms?

On news, articles etc. experts talking about Genetically Modified Foods and Organisms often mentions about their disadvantages like, their potential to harm human health allergies may become more ...
8
votes
2answers
216 views

Is there a dominant gene for right-handedness?

Has there been any definitive research about handedness being genetic? Also, why is right-handedness clearly dominant in humans? I'm interested in evolutionary theories, as well as any molecular ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

How to clone and sequence a gene transcript of unknown sequence?

How might I go about amplifying a gene transcript (mRNA) from animal tissue of which little is known about the genome? In some applications, I have used reverse transcriptase PCR to amplify all mRNA ...
8
votes
4answers
74 views

Are there constraints on where intron/exon boundaries occur with respect to the triplet codons of the reading frame?

I did a quick search (here and elsewhere) and couldn't find anything on this subject. If all introns in a given primary transcript were spliced out in the same way, then this wouldn't matter. But ...
8
votes
3answers
213 views

Splice in with CRISPR/Cas

I need to splice a gene into a human cell genome, with highest rate possible. I mean, doesn't really matter where the gene enters, nor does it matter if some cells die as a result of this. CRISPR ...
7
votes
1answer
67 views

Do DNA repressors exist?

I know about enhancers and the mechanism that lead them to increase the gene expression of their targets but I was wondering if similarly DNA repressors exist. I know about protein repressors but I am ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Gene & Protein nomenclature: N-Myc, c-Myc, et. al

Can someone explain (or point me to an explanation of) exactly what is meant by all the different symbols I see used for writing genes and proteins? I think I know that for genes, we use an italic ...
7
votes
1answer
316 views

What is the origin of “melting” in molecular genetics?

I'm reading some papers about prokaryotic transcription mechanisms, and I've come across a term I haven't heard before: DNA melting or promoter melting. After reading a bit, it's pretty clear that ...
7
votes
2answers
616 views

What exactly happens if during translation, an amino acid is not present?

Lets say that the cell wants to make a particular protein. Transcription of the appropriate gene is done and the mRNA is made. mRNA attaches to the ribosome and the translation is initiated in a ...
7
votes
1answer
92 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
123 views

What determines the number of chromosomes an organism carries?

This is an extension of this question about What limits chromosomal length?. I am wondering what could be the specific reasons behind the number of chromosomes an organism carries. In other words, ...
7
votes
1answer
64 views

Which factors besides the thermodynamic stability are important for the hairpin in intrinsic transcription termination?

Intrinsic termination (rho-independent) relies on a stable hairpin with a subsequent uridine repeat. The common explanation on how these sequences cause the termination of the transcription are based ...
7
votes
1answer
596 views

How is the exogenous DNA protected from degradation during bacterial transformation?

During transformation, a bacterium can take up DNA from its environment. A small fraction of bacterial species are known to be naturally competent, meaning that they can engage in this sort of ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

what is the difference between “cistron” and “gene”

I'm asking after reading the cognate wikipedia.en article on "cistron". I still am not sure about the difference of the two terms. To me it seems valid to picture a "cistron" as the genome wide set ...
6
votes
1answer
91 views

Why do some bacteria have most genes on the leading strand of the genome?

Genes in the (+) strand are black and genes in the (-)strand are red. The gene distribution in E. coli genome is somewhat expected: transcribed regions would tend to alternate with non transcribed ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
54 views

Can molecular genetics make a boolean variable from a continuous variable?

In the same kind of idea than this question. Gene expression are regulated through complex interactions. The concentration of enhancers and repressors is an important aspect that dictate the level of ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does replication require primers while transcription does not?

In transcription, there is no need for any primer. I guess the basic mechanism of DNA polymerase & RNA polymerase is the same. So why does replication have the need for a primer?
6
votes
1answer
126 views

Bicoid regulation of hunchback

I'm learning about development via the example of Drosophila embryogenesis. I understand that bicoid regulates hunchback, among other genes. My question whether the regulation is direct or indirect? ...
6
votes
1answer
68 views

“Enhancers” of enhancers?

I am looking for examples (if any) of genomic regions which regulates the activity of enhancers, either augmenting or reducing it. Essentially some kind of enhancers (or repressors) of enhancers to ...
6
votes
0answers
37 views

Following DNA replication during S-phase of the cell-cycle, are all genomic regions subjected to the same stringent level of DNA-Repair?

To my (limited) understanding, there are 2 main ways that mutations can occur in DNA: Environmental (UV, etc) and mistakes during cell division. I was wondering if there is a mechanism that can give ...
5
votes
5answers
376 views

What is the lowest common denominator of cancer?

What is the lowest level attribute that all cancers share? Also, what is the highest level attributes that all cancers share?
5
votes
3answers
264 views

Are some non-coding RNA spliced?

Are some non-coding RNA spliced like mRNA? I tried to find some information but I don't find anything...
5
votes
3answers
158 views

Measuring reverse transcriptase activity in E. coli

Goal: To quantify the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) activity for a number of mutated RTs. Idea: Put RT into a vector in E.coli. Deliver GFP mRNA to E.coli. RT will process the mRNA. The ...
5
votes
3answers
278 views

What are some examples of genes that code for multiple proteins?

The title pretty much says it all. It is widely taught that a gene in a eukaryotic system could produce more than one protein due to post-transcriptional modification, but I do not believe I have come ...
5
votes
2answers
848 views

Why is the DNA codon table “equal” to the RNA codon table

Before anything else please pay attention of the double quotes on the "equal" in the title - I know they are not equal, but you will understand in a bit. If I look at the DNA codon table here or in ...
5
votes
1answer
69 views

Is it possible to express a mutant gene only in a specific tissue?

Imagine that someone tries to develop a knockout mouse for a gene, but this result in lethality for the homozygous. Is it possible to express that mutant gene only in a specific tissue of interest to ...
5
votes
1answer
108 views

During the process of correcting mutations via gene therapy, is the defective gene removed?

Just recently started learning about gene therapy, many websites explain that the corrected DNA can be added to the genome using a vector and all that. I just don't understand what happens to the ...
5
votes
3answers
105 views

Can we knock out Caspase-9 *and* avoid breast cancer phenotype in our mouse model?

I am trying to design a wet lab experiment with no wet lab experience to name. Right now, in my dream land, it would be excellent if it were possible to create a Caspase-9 knockout mouse (damage to ...
5
votes
2answers
41 views

How many copies of a gene?

I am studying mathematical models of transcription and translation and I am wondering: In a particular genome, how many copies of a gene coding for one particular protein should one expect? Are they ...
5
votes
1answer
867 views

Smallest unit on which selection can act

Traditionally, the individual was considered to be the smallest unit on which Natural Selection (NS) acts. Today, we usually consider the gene as being the unit of NS. Of course, we should also ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the distinction between F' plasmid and R plasmid?

Is there a difference between an F' plasmid that has taken up a chromosomal gene that conveys antibiotic resistance, and an R plasmid? Is a bacterium containing an R plasmid and yet lacking an F+ ...
5
votes
1answer
117 views

Can human mRNA be translated in vitro by prokaryotes?

As the genetic code is universal, can mRNA from a human cell be correctly translated by a prokaryote in a in vitro translation system?
5
votes
1answer
335 views

Is there a practical upper limit to amount of nucleotides or genes in a transformed plasmid?

I'm currently working on a synthetic biology project which involves working with lots of different parts. I would ultimately like to integrate these genes by transforming a single plasmid. I've heard ...
5
votes
2answers
8k views

What's the difference between shotgun sequencing and clone based sequencing?

What are the main differences between shotgun sequencing and clone based sequencing?