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31

I'll keep this short and simple. The direction of transcription (which determines which strand is used as the template) is controlled by the promoter, which is a region of specific DNA motifs at the 5' end of a gene. RNA polymerase binds to the promoter, which orients it on the correct strand and in the correct direction, after which it can proceed to ...


24

There is still a lot to be learned about the roles introns play in biological processes, but there are a couple of things that have been pretty well established. Introns enable alternative splicing, which enables a single gene to encode multiple proteins that perform different functions under different conditions. For example, a signal the cell receives ...


18

Human female cells contain most of the genetic information required to make a male, but they do not contain a critical component: The Y chromosome. This is a relatively small chromosome. Wikipedia claims we have identified around 200 genes on it to date, compared to estimates of 20,000 - 25,000 genes overall in the human genome. Importantly for your ...


13

GMO foods have a huge potential to make food cheaper to produce and more nutritious. The most common GMO foods have at least one gene added to them - an enzyme that makes the plant resistant to RoundUp - an herbicide made by the same company (Monsanto). this makes the farmers able to grow their crops with much less intensive labor to keep the plants ...


13

Different genes will serve different purposes. For example, if you want to perform colocalization studies, then fluorescent genes like eGFP and DS-Red (or any variation of those, namely Emerald, mCherry, etc) will be quite useful, since you can use different filters on your microscope for the various fluorophores. For morphological assessments, perhaps a ...


12

All mutagens are potential carcinogens. Unless the mutagen is highly specific to a site. HPV causes oncogenic transformation of a cell because of certain proteins that it expresses. Its mechanism is directed and specific. Most "carcinogens" are non-specific agents. However according to the definition, HPV can be called a carcinogen. Retroviruses can ...


11

A cistron is a gene - here's how the word came about: It's 1955. The proposed double helical structure of DNA has been published and the race is on to understand the implications of this for genetics. Geneticists have been working with genes for decades, but they don't know what genes are. Sanger has sequenced the two polypeptides of insulin, so the idea of ...


11

To add to canadianer's answer, in fact genes can be found on both strands of the DNA in most eukaryotic cells, in the sense that the sense and anti-sense strands are not always the same strand. The direction is therefore completely determined by the promoter. Furthermore, there are bidirectional promoters.


10

Hanahan and Weinberg's "Hallmarks of Cancer" articles should answer your question. Their original, highly cited (14k+ citations), [Six] Hallmarks of Cancer article list these six common attributes of all cancers: Sustaining proliferative signaling Evading growth suppressors Activating invasion and metastasis Enabling replicative immortality Inducing ...


10

Welcome to Biology.SE. if I take an X-chromosome from two random humans would I count exactly 155,270,560 base pairs in both cases No, you would probably not find the exact same number of base pairs because mutations do no only change one nucleotide to another (what we call a substitution) but sometimes add or delete few (or sometimes many) nucleotides....


9

Perhaps you can draw inspiration from classic paper on lambda cloning: Maniatis T, Hardison RC, Lacy E, Lauer J, O’Connell C, Quon D, Sim GK, Efstratiadis A. 1978. The isolation of structural genes from libraries of eucaryotic DNA. Cell 15: 687–701. Try selecting tissues from the animal which you think is "enriched" (i.e. highly expressed) for the specific ...


9

You should check out Howald C, et al[1]. This is one of the many recent papers tied to the ENCODE data. They've used RT-PCR to amplify exon-exon junctions and then sequenced the results. Supplemental table 2 shows 3076 validated exon-exon junctions in putative processed transcripts which, in the main body of the paper may be sub-classified as: Non-...


9

This question is closely related, and the fascinating link posted by @JohnSmith is a good read. In short, with a four-base system, and a codon size of 1, you get four possible amino acids. Silly system. A codon size of 2 gives 16. Not too shabby, but not a lot of room for growth, and not enough for those 20 amino acids. Codons of size 3 gives 64 - ...


9

This question can't be answered with a simple yes/no, but I would say that the analogy of DNA being the "code" used by cells is a reasonable one, if taken with a number of other considerations. DNA function When Watson and Crick first described the structure of DNA (being a double-stranded sequence of the nucleotides Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine and Thymine)...


9

Yes, these sequences exist and they are called "silencers" (surprising, right?). There are different mechanisms by which this silencing of genes can happen. In the "classical" way the silencer is bound by a transcription factor which either passively suppress the gene by hindering the binding of specific transcription factors or by actively preventing the ...


8

My attempt to find an answer has suggested that no-one knows how the DNA gets into the nucleus. This fairly recent paper reports attempts to track the pathway of DNA entry and transfer to the nucleus. Le Bihan et al. (2010) Probing the in vitro mechanism of action of cationic lipid/DNA lipoplexes at a nanometric scale. Nucl. Acids Res. 39:1595-1609 ...


8

A woman (assuming no mosaicism) has two X chromosomes in the nuclei of her cells (except for oocytes). A man, in every cell with a nucleus (except for spermatocytes), has only one, pluripotent or not. The only way he could make a female would be to either manipulate cells by duplicating the X chromosome (very difficult to do) or remove/inactivate the Y (...


8

To be specific: I am talking about adult, somatic gene therapy here, and germline gene therapy experiments is still a landmine when considering ethical reasons. The defective gene codes for a defective protein, that usually plays a part in pathways. Since the protein is also defective, that pathway is also rendered defective because of this protein, and ...


7

There are two mechanisms of transcriptional termination in prokaryotes. The one shown here is "rho-dependent" because it involves rho, a DNA-RNA helicase that loads on and unwinds the RNA from the DNA, terminating the elongation by the polymerase. Check out [1] which shows a model for how rho multimers move through the RNA. The other mechanism involves ...


7

The core histones are H2A, H2B, H3, and H4, and the linker histones are H1 and H5. The structure of the nucleosome is well explained in wikipedia: Two of each of the core histones assemble to form one octameric nucleosome core particle, and 147 base pairs of DNA wrap around this core particle 1.65 times in a left-handed super-helical turn. The linker ...


7

The smallest unit that can be selected is, of course, the single nucleotide. The most striking examples of this are Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), many of which confer selective (dis)advantages. To take a simple example, imagine a SNP that introduces a frameshift mutation, rendering a gene incapable of producing its protein. If that protein is ...


7

This answer also involves some speculations as the question is about a good theoretical framework for a science fiction. You can find in this post about how sperm can be used to produce embryonic stem cells. It would still require an oocyte for doing that. The question now is- Can you produce oocytes from a male? You may fuse two X bearing haploid ...


7

The pattern we see in B. subtilis is quite common in prokaryotes. The origin of replication is shown at the top of the genome diagram. DNA replication proceeds bidirectionally from this point. In the B. subtilis diagram, most genes are located along the leading strand in each direction. Even in E. coli, by the way, important genes, including all rRNAs, tend ...


7

It is called conditional mutation. You flox (put lox sites around) gene of interest and express Cre recombinase driven by tissue-of-interest-specific promoter. Illustration from here: Using chemically-activatable variant of Cre recombinase (cre-ER) you can create knock-out in some cells of tissue of interest, not every. Addition: a bit weird but still ...


7

Introductory textbooks will not get into the details of the lac operon. Basically, the operon is expressed constitutively at a low level that means that Beta Galactosidase and Lactose Permease are expressed at low levels by the bacterium. This is because it takes a little bit of time to build up the concentration of LacI in the cell before it can start to ...


7

(For the direct answer to your question skip to the end!) Genetic linkage can affect the spread of other genes. The degree of linkage, affected by the rate of recombination between the point (nucleotide, gene etc.) directly under selection and the other point. If the rate of recombination between to given points is low then linkage between them is high and ...


6

If I understand the nomenclature correctly, an R plasmid is just any plasmid containing an antibiotic (R)esistance gene (eg. Amp, Kan, Cm, etc.). It's a bit of an outdated name from when people didn't know how exactly the plasmids conferred such resistance. An F-plasmid is any plasmid that contains the genes necessary for (F)ertility, eg:horizontal gene ...


6

The melting temperature (Tm) of a double stranded DNA tract is defined as the temperature at which 50% of the DNA molecules are dissociated into single strands (and 50% form duplexes). Sure, it has a different meaning than in physics... but it is a really common term in molecular biology and I doubt people will stop to use it anytime soon! There is a vast ...



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