Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [molecular-genetics]

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

40
votes
4answers
47k 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 ...
27
votes
2answers
6k views

How does RNA transcription determine which half of the DNA to use?

I feel that I might have a complete misunderstanding here. If DNA has two strands, how does the machinery of RNA transcription determine which one to transcribe?
21
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
3k views

Are mutations a source of genetic variation?

Here is a question from the book SAT II Success Biology E/M (where the SAT is the exam taken by the American high school students): Which of the following statements is true about mutations? (A) ...
19
votes
3answers
6k views

Do animals other than humans have different blood types?

Humans have the ABO and Rhesus blood typing systems. I have two questions about it: Why have we evolved these blood types? Do other animals have different blood types as well?
18
votes
3answers
478 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
742 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
262 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 ...
13
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 ...
12
votes
1answer
5k views

Is female the default sex in humans?

I was taught in school that female is the default sex in humans based on the following logic: Development into a human male requires the activation of the SRY gene in the foetus. If that doesn't ...
12
votes
2answers
10k views

Genetic linkage greater than 50 centimorgans

Classically, the linkage between two loci can be measured in centimorgans (cM), which represents the percent chance that these two loci will recombine an odd number of times (generating a recombinant ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

How did the genetic code evolve?

The genetic code is redundant, there are 20 amino acids for 64 possible nucleotide combinations (triplet codons). Therefore some amino acid are coded by several different codons. While leucine is ...
12
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
18k 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?
11
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
2k 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
2answers
897 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
1answer
13k views

What is the difference between “cistron” and “gene”?

I'm asking after reading the cognate wikipedia.en article on "cistron". I am still not sure about the difference between the two terms. To me it seems valid to picture a "cistron" as the genome wide ...
10
votes
2answers
1k 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
3answers
558 views

Why did scientists think humans had 100,000 genes (before the Human Genome Project)?

One of the major results of the Human Genome Project (HGP) was that humans have far fewer separate genes than previously thought. From a 2004 article about the HGP: Francis S. Collins, director of ...
10
votes
1answer
39k views

What is positive and negative supercoiling?

Is the following correct? Positive supercoiling = the coiling of DNA helix (B-DNA) on itself during intesified coiling of the two DNA stands in right handed direction negative supercoiling = the ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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
2answers
374 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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
4answers
220 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
445 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
1k 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. ...
9
votes
1answer
2k 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, ...
8
votes
5answers
8k 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
6answers
894 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?
8
votes
1answer
2k 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
2answers
6k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
29k views

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

In a lecture during my undergraduate degree we were introduced to the race to complete the human genome. Celera were competing with Sanger and collaborators to sequence the human genome. Celera ...
8
votes
1answer
12k views

Difference between mutation and DNA damage

What is the strict difference between mutation and DNA damage? As far as I understand it, a mutation is an alteration in the genetic sequence, having "tricked" the repairing machinery and thus ...
8
votes
1answer
525 views

Why some cells don't produce purines?

It is said that erythrocytes, polymorphonuclear leukocytes and brain cannot produce purines. And the reason given as per this site is: Human brain tissue has a low level of PRPP glutamyl ...
7
votes
1answer
909 views

What came first? The DNA or the DNA polymerases?

I know this sounds a lot like chicken and egg question and while the latter has an answer, I am intrigued about the former. A modified form of the question would be, in the course of abiogenesis, ...
7
votes
1answer
116 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

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
293 views

Which DNA elements belong to the definition of a gene?

I see a lot of different DNA elements mentioned as part of a gene (talking about eukaryotes): The length of DNA following the promoter is a gene and it contains the recipe for a protein. (video) ...
7
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
1k 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
3k 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
6k views

Is ovum + ovum fertilization possible for human?

In humans is it possible to fertilize a ovum with another ovum from the same female subject? I already found some works in which the ovum is fertilized by a somatic cell (see e.g. this ), but I am ...
7
votes
1answer
110 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
96 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
3answers
154 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
1k 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
3answers
424 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...
6
votes
2answers
329 views

Do nucleosomes ever completely unwrap during transcription?

In eukaryotic transcription will the nucleosomes ever completely unwind the DNA and the histone complex disassemble? If an operon is more 160 base pairs it seems it must.
6
votes
3answers
13k views

Why is mRNA needed in the Protein translation?

The original question was to predict the basic requirements for information storage. Then the discussion moved to why is it necessary to include mRNA in the protein translation process. Why can't ...