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43

This question makes a number of incorrect assumptions and I don't have time to correct them. The short answer is that the virus has mutated probably hundreds of times since it entered humans in late 2019. The lower figure on the NextStrain.org ncov page, "Diversity", shows the known mutations that have been identified so far. As I look at it now, there are ...


38

It is not only possible, these vaccines are in active development. Biontech (the company which developed the Comirnaty Corona vaccine) was founded to develop vaccines against cancer, Moderna is developing similar approaches. It was the research on the cancer vaccines and the development of the mRNA vaccine approach in general made the fast vaccine ...


17

Nice question which leads to the fundamentals of DNA and RNA. DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) is the core of life in Earth, every known living organism is using DNA as their genetic backbone. DNA is so precious and vital to eukaryotes that its kept packaged in cell nucleus, its being copied but never removed because it never leaves the safety of nucleus. DNA ...


17

Th reason for this is that for the third base of the tRNA non-Watson-Crick pairing is allowed. This phenomenon is called "Wobble base pairing". See the figure (from here) for illustration (from here): If you have a look at the codon table for amino acids, than the variation in the code for one amino acid mostly happens on the third position (from here): ...


17

It does fold on to itself. There are secondary structures in RNA and some of these secondary structures also have regulatory functions (for example, riboswitches). Some of these structures can also inhibit translation (by different mechanisms such as the masking of the ribosome binding site or analogous eukaryotic sequences, or stalling of ribosome etc). ...


15

Yes, dsRNAs are present in eukaryotic cells and regulate various biological processes. These nucleic acids are also present in the nucleus and regulate mitosis. Altering this nucleic acid could even lead to cell death. (Reference: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25504323/)


15

Might not be the answer you're looking for, but there's already a vaccine for one particular type of cancer - cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is largely caused by a virus though (HPV, Human papillomavirus). See Wiki. Three HPV vaccines (Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix) reduce the risk of cancerous or precancerous changes of the cervix and perineum by ...


14

The RNA world hypothesis states that self-replicating RNA (that is, an autocatalytic RNA polymerase) was the first form or precursor of life. So, in that context, your question is basically asking how life originated. The obvious answer is that we don't know (currently anyways), but I'm going to take this opportunity to describe a few really neat experiments ...


14

In RNA viruses with a single-stranded genome, this RNA can be positive or negative sense. Positive sense RNA is directly translatable by a ribosome, while a negative strand RNA cannot be directly translated and therefore non-infectious. It either has to be converted to a positive strand RNA with the help of an RdRP (RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, carried in ...


12

I think given that you're just getting started with genetics, you can say that the codons are interchangeable. This is generally true, though not technically correct. Here are a few reasons for why this is the case, though there's probably more: Specific organisms use specific codons with different frequencies. This is usually related to the tRNA abundance ...


12

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)...


12

Nice question! But sadly, it comes under the category of questions about which we don't know everything yet. We don't yet know how RNA Polymerase differentiates between uracil and thymine while adding nucleotides to growing mRNA chain (at least, I was unable to find research papers online), most probably because it has proved difficult to know the exact ...


11

See this paper. They have studied RBP-protected sites in the entire human transcriptome by RNA-protein crosslinking followed by RNAse digestion and sequencing: PIPseq. Figure 1 of the paper shows distribution of protein protected sites in RNAs. They also correlate it with different regions of mRNA and its expression. They show number of protein protected ...


10

The helix shape of DNA molecule is a consequence of its secondary structure. This refers to the bases contained in the molecule which pair, thus determining tertiary structure [1]. Basepairing also occurs in RNA, so it can form a double helix. In fact, RNA is composed of short helices packed together [2]. Base pairs maintain DNA's helical structure no matter ...


9

Top 10 long processed transcripts in humans (with multiple isoforms), from gencode 19 annotations: Transcript Length(bases) ------------------------ TTN-018 108861 <-- Titin TTN-019 103988 TTN-002 101206 KCNQ1OT1-001 91666 TTN-201 82413 TTN-202 82212 TTN-003 81838 MUC16-001 43732 ...


9

Addition to Jvrek's answer based on the comments. Most RNA degradation mechanisms catalysed by different RNAses (RNAse-A and RNAse-S, for example), involve the 2'-OH. Therefore the repertoire of RNAses is selective towards RNA and not DNA because of the 2'-OH.                  ...


9

A pre-tRNA is transcribed from tRNA genes in DNA by RNA polymerase III. Processing occurs in the nucleus, where a 5' sequence is cleaved by RNase P, the 3's CCA motif is added, and ~10% of the nucleotides are substituted. The tRNA are transported out via the pore complexes. Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase enzymes attach amino acids in the cytoplasm in a 2-step ...


9

Though this is a basic question (a few google searches will provide all answers) and you have asked a lot of questions, I shall answer them one-by-one. Why is RNA single stranded (and not double stranded like DNA)? dsRNA is less stable than dsDNA. See this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA#Structure. An important structural feature of RNA that ...


9

Yes there are reports of RNA directly inhibiting transcription. RNA induced transcriptional silencing (RITS) is a well known pathway in Schizosaccharomyces pombe (fission yeast). Initial heterochromatinization is dependent on the RNA (as a DNA identfication module) that guides other functional proteins to the target (Also see Djupedal et al., 2009). piRNA ...


9

Regardless of the question† of which came first*, RNA or DNA, it is possible to rationalize the absence of thymine in RNA by a cost–benefit analysis. There is a cost to using thymine, so there must be sufficient benefits to make this worth while. Cost of using thymine rather than uracil The most obvious cost of using thymine is the energy requirement for ...


8

RNA (single or double stranded) actually can and does form a helix in the absence of certain complex 3D structures. The RNA helix is typically A-form, as opposed to B-form for typical DNA. The A-form helix is right-handed like the B-form but is more compact (2.6 Å rise versus 3.4 Å) and wider (26 Å diameter vs 20 Å). The differing helices arise from the 2'-...


7

No, this will not happen. mRNAs are inspected in the nucleus before they are exported into the cytoplasm (at least in eukaryotes), where transcription and translation don't happen at the same place. This ensures that no mRNAs without stop codons or premature stop codons are exported. This phenomenon is called "mRNA surveillance". mRNAs that do not pass this ...


7

This is a badly-worded phrase that means nothing in the context of the paragraph in which it occurs. There is no way the reader could be expected to understand it from this awful book on its own. Normally I would not think it the role of this site to remedy deficiencies in text books. However, as this involves some interesting questions I will try to read ...


7

Aminoacyl-tRNA sythetases are highly specific to their corresponding amino acid. First, the activation site, where the amino acid binds, constitutes a complex network of intermolecular interactions. For example, threonine, catalyzed by threonyl-tRNA synthetase, is very similar to valine and serine. Valine has a methyl group instead of the hydroxy group of ...


7

It would appear that the current policy at GenBank is to represent all genomic sequences as DNA, even though this is not made explicit in any of the easily retrievable documentation on their website or in their publications. The way in which one determines the nature of the genome is from the first (LOCUS) line in the report, which, in the case of SARS-CoV-2 ...


7

Meng et al. actually give their explanation in the first paragraph of their results section. The main reasons for their claim are that they did not detect any labeling with 4SU or EU and that both analogs suppress bacterial growth. Also they raise the issue with the naturally occurring 4SU in tRNAs. Aiming to develop nucleoside analogs compatible with ...


7

The answer to Question 1 is: The ribonucleases responsible for digesting removed intron RNA do not recognize the miRNA as such. They are unable to digest it because (or to the extent that) it assumes a double-stranded structure, as they are specific for single-stranded RNA. The answer to Question 2 is briefly: By the same mechanism as the many microRNAs ...


6

The question is a bit vague in some important parts, so I'll have to make a few assumptions about what the authors likely meant. RNAses are enzymes that degrade RNA. There are a few different ones that lead to different kinds of degradation. The type that you would use in an experiment like this is an RNAse that completely degrades RNA. The purpose of this ...


6

Yes, you can find mutations in the genomic DNA which affect splice acceptor sites. Wikipedia lists the following outcome: Mutation of a splice site resulting in loss of function of that site. Results in exposure of a premature stop codon, loss of an exon, or inclusion of an intron. Mutation of a splice site reducing specificity. May result in variation in ...


6

Yes, that should be possible. And it is one of the ways antibodies work. It is already used as a treatment against rabies. There you get a dose of immunoglobulins directed against the rabies virus together with the vaccine. The immunoglobulins neutralize the virus. The same is possible when you vaccinate against the surface proteins which a virus uses to ...


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