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Biology Genes Are Regions of

Prokaryotes produce a similar effect by shifting reading frames during translation (Gene pp). The translation of RNA into a protein also starts with a specific start and stop sequence (Gene pp). Once produced, the protein interacts with the many other proteins in the cell, according to the cell metabolism, finally producing the trait (Gene pp). The 3 types of RNA: Messenger RNA m-RNA An RNA copy of a gene; Ribosomal RNA r-RNA Ribosomal structure; also includes the enzyme peptidyl transferase; Transfer RNA t-RNA Transfer amino acids to ribosome; have anticodons which match the m-RNA codons (Lecture pp). Mutations may occur in a several ways, for example natural variations within regulatory sequences appear to underlie many of the heritable characteristics seen in organisms and the influence of such variations on the trajectory of evolution through natural selection may be as large as or larger than variation in sequences that encode proteins (Gene pp). Errors during DNA replication may lead to the duplication of a gene, which may diverge over time and though the two sequences may remain the same or be only slightly altered, they are typically regarded as separate genes (Gene pp). Work Cited Gene. Retrieved October 19, 2005 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene Lecture 8: DNA & Heredity Transcription & Translation http://members.aol.com/Bio50/LecNotes/lecnot08.html…

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Genomes and Comparative Genomics Over

These specific genes which find expression in one species while remaining passive in another are responsible for the traits pertaining to the particular species. It would also give us an idea of the effect of the structural differences between the genes in the different species. Homology of sequences Homology is an important concept in studying genome sequences. Detection of homologous sequences is the essence of sequence analysis. Similarities in sequences or structures may either be the result of divergent or convergent trends. Homology is actually a measure of divergence between species, which shared a common origin. So a homology actually indicates the degree of divergent relationship. Homology study also helps us infer gene functionality. Within the homologous sequences proteins may either carry out the same functions or different functions. It is necessary to identify these differences between homologues. The proteins that carryout similar functions in different species are known as orthologues while the proteins that perform different (though related) functions are known as paralogues. Orthologous proteins hold the key in our study of molecular paleontology. Biologists have studied and developed phylogenetic trees, which reveal the relationship between bacteria, fungi, insects and many other highly evolved animals. [TK Attwood, 12] The study of paralogous proteins, on the other hand helps us understand the evolutionary designs of nature. This is because paralogous proteins are derived from successive duplication of the same gene with subsequent adaptation. However it is precisely this complex paralogous and orthologous relationships, which makes it difficult for us to arrive at any concrete classification of the protein family. The key challenge faced by the experts in the field of bioinformatics however, is the effective analysis of the enormous amount of information (sequenced data) that is currently available and in interpreting them with respect to the protein structure and function and correctly correlating them to evolution pattern. With our continuous progress in understanding protein-folding mechanism we are well poised to handle this mammoth task. [Rost, 1988] Conclusion We are making rapid progress in the subject of genetics and within the next few years we can expect tremendous changes in the field of bioinformatics. The completion of the human genome project and the development of new time saving sequencing techniques would offer entirely new possibilities in diverse fields. The possibility of Genetic therapy would provide new hopes for people with hereditary disorders and the advancements in molecular treatment would mark a…

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Roles Do Genes Play in

Multifactorial inheritance means that several, rather than simply one gene causes a particular trait to be expressed (such as height or intelligence). "As the number of multifactorial genes for the trait increases, the liability for the disease increases. When it reaches a threshold, the liability is so great that abnormality, what we call disease, results" (Multifactorial inheritance, 2012, Human Genetics). There appears to be a different 'threshold of expression' for such multifactorial problems, including cleft palates, neural tube defects, or hip dysplasia. For example, "one of the environmental influences thought to contribute to hip dysplasia is the baby's response to the mothers' hormones during pregnancy. Once a child has been born with hip dysplasia, the chance for it to happen again in a male or female child is about 6% overall. In other words, there is a 94% chance that another child would not be born with hip dysplasia" (Multifactorial inheritance, 2012, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin). Studying twins with the same genetic composition helps researchers to better isolate which environmental factors predispose the expression of the genes. Reference Cri du chat syndrome. (2010). National Human Genome Research Institute. National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services http://www.genome.gov/pfv.cfm?pageID=19517558 DNA replication. (2002). VBS homepage. Retrieved: http://staff.jccc.net/pdecell/proteinsynthesis/dnarepli.html Learning about Neurofibromatosis. (2010). National Human Genome Research Institute. Retrieved: http://www.genome.gov/14514225 Mainardi, Paola Cerruti. (2006). Cri du chat syndrome. Orphanet J. Rare Dis, 1(33). Retrieved: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1574300/ McCance, K.A. & Huether, S.E. (2010). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children (6th ed). Multifactorial inheritance. (2012). Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Retrieved: http://www.chw.org/display/PPF/DocID/22923/router.asp Multifactorial……

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How Genetics Affect Child Development

Genetics and Child Development Child Genetics Genetic research shows that genetic content of a child account for their characteristics and behavior. The environment also plays a vital role in child development. It is increasingly evident that no single fact can explain the intricacies of change and growth from childhood to old age. Environmental and biological factors are almost similar and related, and it is sometimes difficult to separate behaviors environmentally influenced and biologically influenced. Different genetic contents elicit different reactions from their parents, and different environments result to differences among individuals. Different researches have been carried out to determine the extent to which genes affect behavior in children; conclusions made show behavior in children has some genetic input. Effect of genes on development Biological factors are chromosomes, genes, human reproduction and cell division; which affect the building blocks of the human organism. Genetic factors also determine a child's physical traits, however, behavioral and emotional patterns might be influenced by genetic factors, but not always; an excellent example is attention deficit hyperactive disorder which is a disorder strongly linked to genes. Environmental factors are social, ecologic, psychological influences, which affect the child's growth. From conception, hereditary and genetics have a noteworthy effect on the foetal development and growth. These genetic contents affect the way a child grows physically, socially and interpersonally. Genes determine the physical and also the chemical properties that govern the function and every structure of the body cells. The genes and molecules are influential on who the child will become. The chromosomes and genes of the child are unique, and have instructions which determine the child's eye color, sex, height, and predisposition for certain illnesses. Sometimes the genes trigger the metabolic system to work correctly. There is also a belief that genetics sometimes influence certain behaviors like depression, addictive behaviors, homosexuality, or even violent behaviors (Bowden, 2009, pg 78). Living things transmit genetic codes, which specify a certain growth pattern, and it influences the organization of the offspring. Inheritance patterns include recessive and dominant inheritance. The patterns influence transmission of traits; some of these traits are hair color, eye color and genetic defects. At conception, linkage of the parent's sex chromosomes determines the child's gender. The gender affects child development and growth in the context of physical, social and personal characteristics. External and internal sex-specific genes are present at birth, and the differences continue to be seen as…

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DNA the Genetics of Height DNA Has

DNA The Genetics of Height DNA has a huge impact in growth and development. It has long been associated with determining height, and recent studies in specific genetic modifications back that assertion up. However, there are other factors influencing height, such as diet and prescribed medications. Additionally, research shows that there is a multitude of other genetic combinations which may have their own impact on each unique individual's height. Two recent gene abnormalities have been discovered to have an impact on height. Both HGMA2 and GDF5 can impact on height. According to research, about "90% of our height variation is linked to DNA," (Anitei 2007). The discovery of these genes then solidifies this concept. The link within the case of HGMA2 was discovered by a medical team at the Children's Hospital in Boston. Research states that "The team looked inside the genome of 35,000 people for their single letter differences in the DNA that were found more often in tall individuals than in shorter ones," (Anitei 2007). What they found was a simple switch, where a "C" replaced the "T" in the coding. HGMA2 is a mutant gene, with two letters being switched in a previously existing code. Thus, "People who inherit both changes can be a centimeter (a third of an inch) shorter than those who inherit both of the alternative versions of the gene," (Connor 2007). The gene itself is found in young, developing children, showing elements of height being predetermined early on in life. Research has also shown evidence of genetic variations within the GDF5 gene can be correlated with adult height (Vaes et al. 2009). The gene is a controlling cell growth and helps act as a structure for the development of the skeletal system. It has also been known to play a role in the creation joints within the body as well. Unlike HMGA2, GDF5 is found in both young and adult tissues. This shows that height can still be adjusted throughout the development of the growing body. Additional factors, like diet and medication during vulnerable developmental periods, are also supposed to have an impact in the final height of each individual as they reach maturity. There has been a wide array of studies linking factors like diet, exercise, and location to height. A genetic tie to height "is just the first of many -- and possibly as many as several hundred -- that will…

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How Genetics Affect Child Development

¶ … Genetics affects child development Genetic research shows that genetic content of a child account for their characteristics and behavior. The environment also plays a vital role in child development. It is increasingly evident that no single fact can explain the intricacies of change and growth from childhood to old age. Environmental and biological factors are almost similar and…

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Genetics Study of Biological Information

Genetics: Study of Biological Information Genetics is the branch of biology dealing with heredity and variations of organisms and the genetic makeup and phenomena of an organism, type, group, or condition (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2010). In this course, it has been defined as "the study of how biological information is stored, utilized, and passed on from one generation to the next." The biological information is stored within the cells as Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) which is responsible for the coding and reproducing of the cellular information. Proteins, amino acids, and ribonucleic acid are the other main components involved in biological information process. The life of an organism relies on the cells ability to store, transcribe, and translate the genetic information in the cell. The genetic material that carries all the hereditary information is the DNA and is found inside the nucleus of the cell. The DNA is a double helical structure whose backbone is composed of sugar-phosphate with nucleotide bases attached. There are four different nucleotide bases: adenine (a), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T) plus a fifth one found in RNA: uracil (U) which takes the place of the thymine (T). Only a and T. Or U. can bind together and only C. And G. can bind together. This makes a strand of DNA 'complementary' to the strand being made (Genetics: Elementary human genetics, 2006). The genetic information is basically instructions for making proteins (Alberts et al., n.d.). The proteins are made up of amino acids. The DNA is unwound in to two strands and the genetic code is transcribed on a strand of RNA; because DNA cannot leave the nucleus of the cell but RNA can leave the nucleus of the cell. The RNA then acts like a messenger delivering the genes sequence and finally translates the code information for the production of the protein. The protein decoded for plays a role in the formation and functions of the cell. The DNA of the cell is the same for all types of cells but the cells have different functions. DNA is replicated by the use of DNA polymerase enzymes. The rate of error in the reproduction of the DNA strand is 1 in 100 million nucleotides. DNA is the storage of the genetic code but the RNA contains the actual template the protein is formed from. The RNA is broken down into three parts for this process: messenger…

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Discovery of DNA as Our Heredity Material and Its Structure

¶ … Discovery of DNA On the afternoon of February 28, 1953, British physicist Francis Crick announced in a pub in Cambridge, England, that he and James Watson, an American geneticists, had discovered "the secret of life" on planet Earth, meaning that Crick and Watson had "figured out the structure of DNA" (deoxyribonucleic acid) and that this strange material, known as a double helix, had the capacity to "unzip to make copies of itself," thus confirming many suspicions by other scientists that DNA was the foundation of life's hereditary information (2009, "James Watson & Francis Crick," Internet). However, Crick and Watson did not discover DNA itself because in 1868, Swiss biologist Friedrich Miescher "carried out the first carefully thought-out chemical studies on the nuclei" of human cells and after obtaining a substance based on phosphorus which he dubbed "nuclein." Miescher also discovered that this substance was acidic and that it contained histones, "a class of proteins responsible for the packaging of DNA" which remained somewhat mysterious until the late 1940's (2009, "The Search for DNA," Internet). In 1943, some ten years before Watson and Crick unraveled the mysteries of DNA, many biologist and geneticists were convinced that DNA played some type of major role in human inheritance while other argued that such a thing was not possible. Yet the first solid evidence that DNA was the carrier of human genetic information came about at the Rockefeller Institute via research conducted by Oswald Avery, Colin MacLeod and Maclyn McCarthy. These three men came to the conclusion that DNA "carried the genetic message" and that virulent strains of a particular bacterium known as streptococcus pneumonae did indeed contain DNA. Not surprisingly, many scientists still were not convinced of the genetic properties of DNA (2009, "The Search for DNA," Internet). In 1952,……

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Philosophy of Psychology in the Selfish Gene

Psychology Dawkins' Selfish Gene and the History of Psychology In the Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins argues passionately and clearly for a challenging new approach to the study of biology and evolution. Of course, after thirty years, Dawkins' selfish gene hypothesis, which was a popularization of work being conducted in biology at the time, has become entrenched orthodoxy in some circles.…

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Extracting DNA From Strawberries in My Experiment,

Extracting DNA from strawberries In my experiment, I attempted to extract the DNA from strawberries; in order to fulfill my purpose, I have followed the stages presented in the example: I blended the strawberries together with salt and cold water, I put the mixture through a strainer into a cup, then I added liquid detergent and then I moved the liquid into a glass container, after that I added pineapple juice, I stirred and in the end I poured ethyl alcohol. In the end I was able to see the DNA raising to the surface of the container. It looked like a small White Sea jelly. "Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions for the development and function of living organisms. All living things contain DNA, with the exception of some viruses with RNA genomes. The main role of DNA in the cell is the long-term storage of information. It is often compared to a blueprint, since it contains the instructions to construct other components of the cell, such as proteins and RNA molecules. The DNA segments that carry genetic information are called genes." History: DNA was first discovered Friedrich Miescher, an Austrian monk, who found out in 1869 that human traits are determined by some minimal factors, which he called "nuclein." In 1937, William Astbury was the one who produced the first X-ray diffraction patterns that proved that DNA had a regular structure. "In 1943, Oswald Theodore Avery discovered that traits of the "smooth" form of the Pneumococcus could be transferred to the "rough" form of the same bacteria by mixing killed "smooth" bacteria with the live "rough" form. Avery identified DNA as this transforming principle DNA's role in heredity was confirmed in 1953, when Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase in the Hershey-Chase experiment, showed that DNA is the genetic material of the T2 phage." However, the first adequate DNA model was produced in 1953 by James D. Watson and Francis Crick, the Watson winning the Nobel Prize 9 years later for his discovery.. Importance: nowadays, we highly benefit from these previous discoveries, since the role of the DNA is of valuable importance, since it contains genetic information that lead to living, growing and reproducing of the living organisms. These processes are made possible by the sub-divisions of the DNA, called genes. DNA is also used in the forensic identification: it helps finding potential…

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Human DNA Sequence Composed of

These two databases are available for search. To search a sequence against eBLOCKs, please enter your protein sequence in FASTA format and choose either eMOTIF or eMATRIX as your Search Method." (Stanford.edu, 2005) DNA Sequence The results of the internet search for this specific DNA sequence came back with a great deal of information which then required additional research. The results identified a serine protease better known as enterokinase or PRSS7. Enterokinase is an intestinal enzyme that helps the body initiate activation of pancreatic proteolytic proenzymes. "Enterokinase is a serine protease of the duodenal brush border membrane that cleaves trypsinogen and produces active trypsin, thereby leading to the activation of many pancreatic digestive enzymes. Overlapping cDNA clones that encode the complete human enterokinase amino acid sequence were isolated from a human intestine cDNA library." (Kitamoto et al., 1995) Dr. Kitamoto also points out that these structural features are conserved among human, bovine, and porcine enterokinase and that they can be detected only in small intestine. Chromosome 21 has been identified as the smallest human autosome. "The enterokinase gene was localized to human chromosome 21q21 by fluorescence in situ hybridization." (Kitamoto et al., 1995) Researchers have concluded that Human chromosome 21 is of great importance to the medical research community because there are such a large number of genetic or familial disorders that can be mapped to this chromosome. Although many of these do not pertain directly to the enterokinase gene, chromosome 21 in general have been tied to Down syndrome, five percent of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or motor neuron disease) and even Alzheimer's disease. The chromosomal translocations have also been tied to cancers like Ewing's sarcoma and acute myeloid leukemia. This serine protease is a part of the intestinal brush border in the small intestine. "Congenital enteropeptidase deficiency is a rare recessively inherited disorder leading, in affected infants, to severe failure to thrive. The genomic structure of the proenteropeptidase gene (25 exons, total gene size 88 kb) was characterized in order to perform DNA sequencing in three clinically and biochemically proved patients with congenital enteropeptidase deficiency who were from two families." (Holzinger et al., 2002) Dr. Holzinger noted that defective alleles provided first evidence that proenteropeptidase-gene mutations are the primary cause of congenital enteropeptidase deficiency. (UWCM, 2005) Obviously, enterokinase gene being tied to this chromosome entails a great deal of research interest into the biological functions of the gene…

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Living Things Are Characterized by

37) Biotechnology has provided scientists with new means to understand the complexity of protein functions. Molecular cloning, an important tool in biotechnology, has vastly improved the prospects of understanding individual proteins and their functions. Microarray technology is another tool, which allows the study of a group of genes in combination. Similarly, Antisense and RNA interference (gene blocking) and gene knockouts…

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Transcription Is a Process That

The termination complex consists of terminal RNA and mRNA that associate with polypeptide chains that had hydrolyzed Question 4 There are 64 codons total. Why do you suppose some amino acids have only one or two codons while others have more? What is the wobble? Genetic redundancy is a condition in which an individual suffers from a condition where a…

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Nature vs. Nurture This Paper

Behaviors breed true in successive generations of organisms. Behaviors change in response to alterations in biological structures. Some behaviors run in human families Behavior has an evolutionary history that persists across species." (McInerney, 2008). One means of testing this hypothesis would be by conducting a research study. McInerney describes the traditional research strategies used in behavioral genetics, studies of twins and adoptees, techniques that are designed to sort biological from environmental influences (2008). Investigators have also added the search for pieces of DNA associated with particular behaviors. One twin study reported by Harden, Turkheimer, and Loehlin (2006) found that shared environmental influences were stronger for adolescents from poorer homes, while genetic influences were stronger for more affluent homes. Harden et al. concluded that environmental differences between middle- to upper-class families influence the expression of genetic potential for intelligence (2006). One could argue then, that environmental factors similarly affect the expression of basketball smarts. The question of how genes influence behavior remains unanswered. What is clear at this point, according to McInerney, is that "No single gene determines a particular behavior. Behaviors are complex traits involving multiple genes that are affected by a variety of other factors" (2008). The respective roles of nature vs. nurture, and their relative importance, remain to be clarified. Reference List Harden, K.P., Turkheimer, E. & Loehlin, J.C. (2006). Genotype by Environment Interaction in Adolescents' Cognitive Aptitude. Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 1, doi:10.1007/s10519-006-9113-4 McInerney, J. (2008). What is behavioral genetics? Human Genome Project Information. Retrieved March 30, 2011 from http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/behavior.shtml#2 The Nature of Nurture. (2010). Association for Psychological Science. Retrieved March 30, 2011 from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/convention/program_detail.cfm?abstract_id=12506…

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Gene Expression Analysis in Cancer

Gene Expression Analysis in Cancer Cells Perhaps one of the most critical links in cancer research was the discovery that certain cancers have a strong genetic component and that cancer was not simply a random occurrence. As a result, it is now well established that the presence of certain genes can be highly predictive of whether a person will or…

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Discovery of the Structure of DNA by Watson and Crick

Discovery of the Structure of DNA by Watson and Crick Arguably, one of the greatest discoveries of human kind has been DNA. This is because its structure holds the key to human evolution, as it is the basic foundation for how all life is created. Simply put, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a double helix formation that contains the elements of:…

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Genetics and Human Disease

Genetics and Human Disease Millions of Americans a year have to deal with the affects of heart disease and cancer, both directly and indirectly. They prove to be the biggest threats to the average American in terms of medical dangers. What is largely un-thought of within the context of previous research on such threats is the concept of their relationship to the most basic fundamental blocks of our bodies -- genomes within DNA. Recent studies have found that there may be a potential genetic relationship between the human genome and medical conditions such as heart disease and cancer; these diseases not having any similarities between typical genetic diseases caused by abnormal genes. Each and every one of us owes our biological make up to the human genome which determines so much of who we all are. Twenty-three pairs of chromosomes are encapsulated within each genome, which then induce the development of our physical and mental existence. These chromosomes are strands of DNA molecules and proteins which carry genetic and hereditary information of each individual. Only one pair of these chromosomes are what determines an individuals sex, the major difference between humans and are known as non-autosomal chromosomes. These are represented by the X and Y chromosomes which determine sex in an individual. Out of these twenty-three pairs of chromosomes, twenty two are what is known as autosomal chromosome pairs. These chromosomes appear the same in both male and female, and help determine such traits as race, ethnicity, and ancestry. It is these chromosomes which also carry genetic diseases through the various generations. Yet, not all diseases and disorders carried down through autosomal chromosomes are caused by abnormalities in the genes themselves. Several other diseases have been related to human genomes,……

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DNA or Deoxyribonucleic Acid Is the Only

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is the only commonly found molecule that can dictate its own syntheses through reproduction, for this reason the DNA is the cell structure that dictates genetic material to a new organism. (Carter, 2004, NP) the shape and form of DNA create the ability of it to regenerate in patterned sequences, that are limitedly predictable and there fore result in a new genetic identity, with many of the existing organism's characteristics and some from a new organism, also supplying DNA to the process. DNA forms as a double helix with the outer and inner edges forming alternating ladders and rungs that determine the function of the DNA at given periods of reproduction, through the chemical representation of cell formation: The outer edges are formed of alternating ribose sugar molecules and phosphate groups. The two strands go in opposite directions (1 "up" and 1 "down"). The nitrogenous bases are "inside" like rungs on a ladder. Adenine on one side pairs with thymine (uracil in RNA) on the other by hydrogen bonding, and cytosine pairs with guanine. Note that the C-G pair has three hydrogen bonds while the a-T pair has only two, which keeps them from pairing wrong. This dictates side-to-side pairing, but says nothing about the order along the molecule. Watson and Crick said this variability along the molecule can account for the variety in the genetic code. Their model also accounts for how DNA can replicate itself. They said the molecule "unzips" and new matching bases are added in to create two new molecules. They called this semiconservative replication because each new molecule has one "old" and one "new" strand of DNA. (Carter, 2004, NP) As a result of this DNA replication process it serves as the main road map for the development of new cells with both old and new characteristics. DNA codes for protein synthesis by first coding for RNA. First, the DNA code is transcribed to RNA code, which is still in the "language" of nitrogenous bases, except that adenine on the DNA pairs with uracil (in place of thymine) on the RNA. The RNA code is then translated to protein code, which is a different "language." This process involves ribosomes and two kinds of RNA: mRNA and tRNA. The mRNA codes for the gene in question and is copied off the DNA, while tRNA matches a specific group of nucleotides with a…

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DNA in Science, Evidence Is Necessary to

DNA In science, evidence is necessary to prove or disprove a hypothesis. Evidence suggests DNA is the molecule of heredity. In your response, list the scientists and the work they did to convince science and society that DNA is indeed the molecule of heredity. Next, list the evidence that would convince you that DNA is the molecule of heredity. Finally, reflect on why learning about the history and science of DNA is important in learning that DNA is the molecule of heredity. Although James D. Watson and Francis H. Crick are credited with 'discovering' DNA, the concept of heritable traits can be traced back to the monk Gregor Mendel, who first noticed regressive and dominant characteristics in the fertilization of different plants. Watson and Crick 'only' discovered DNA's double helix structure, and by the time they conducted their experiments in DNA structure, the idea that nucleic acid contained the blueprint of humanity was already widely accepted. To a person uneducated in the scientific method, the idea of invisible substances like DNA transmitting genetic information would seem difficult to prove, as the evidence exists on the molecular level. Without the benefits of modern technology, the idea of heritable traits could not be connected to a specific, heritable entity within living beings. It was in 1943 that an American named Oswald Avery proved the hypothesis that nucleic acid, or DNA carried genetic information. "Earlier in this century, as biologists……

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Heredity and Hormones

Hormones and Heredity HUMAN BEHAVIOR: HORMONES AND HEREDITY Human behavior has been an interesting subject of discussion and research. It is commonly believed that genes and environment determine human behavior. We need to not forget that genes are precisely what we call hereditary in ordinary language. When we are that someone is hereditarily prone to doing a certain thing, what we mean is that his genetic makeup makes his susceptible to such an action. There are certain characteristics or personality traits that human beings inherit and thus we blame these on genes. There are other actions that we learn from environment. According to various researches, genetics or hereditary is a very weak source or cause of behavior. While some person may have an aggression gene or a gene for certain behavior trait, it is highly unlikely that this gene alone would make him vulnerable to aggression or would predispose him to that particular behavior. Normally there are other factors that influence a person's behavior too. Environment is a strong contender in this connection. However in this paper, we shall also study the effect on hormones on human behavior. While environment and hereditary are important sources of determining human behavior, hormones also have a marked influence on our physical and mental state thus altering our behavior at least for some time. When we see wrestlers in the ring, thrashing their opponent or Formula One competitors driving at alarming speed, we wonder how do they do it. It doesn't even look humanly possible. But they do it with absolute ease and this is where hormones come into the equation. The production of adrenalin is what takes a person from a restive state to an excited state and causes him to behave in an agitated, excited manner as if he is in a state of acute awareness. Hormones are commonly seen as chemicals that are secreted by certain cells and they move to another to affect bodily and mental state thus affecting behavior. The main function of hormones is to keep the body in a perfect chemical state. This means that hormones are secreted, as the body requires them. How would it be if a person were unavailable to feel any excitement on seeing his partner? This would not be a normal reaction and it shows a marked disinterest in the mate. But that not so normal behavior has other psychological reasons and…

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Role of Genetics on Development

Genetics What Parents Do Not Intend to Give their Children When individuals think about what they would like to pass on to their children, they often think of intangible traits such as personal courage or artistic talent. Such attributes no doubt have a genetic or inherited element (because all traits that a human has can arguably be said to have a genetic element), but these are traits that are in large measure learned, although many of them may well be learned from family members to whom an individual is genetically related. Parents may also think about passing on traits that are clearly genetically based, such as a dimple in the chin or curly hair. However, one of the things that parents may not consider in terms of their contributions to their children is their potential to harm those children in an entirely unintentional way: That is, parents may harm their children all unwillingly by passing along to them a combination of chromosomes that together can cause lifelong problems for their children. This paper examines one of the lesser-known genetic conditions that can occur in an individual who receives a particular genetic contribution from each of his parents and how this condition of Klinefelter's syndrome results from a different general mechanism that occurs in better known and more serious genetic conditions such as hemophilia (Klinefelter syndrome, 2007). Human genetics is both immensely complex and very simple. The simple part is that each person inherits half of his genetic information from his mother and half from his father. (Masculine pronouns are used throughout this paper because, while of course genetic dynamics work in females as well as in males, the condition being examined here occurs only in males.) Understanding how the genetic material of parent generations affects those of their children is simple in its general outline as it is complex in the repercussions that the parental genetic contribution has on a child. Most of the well-known genetic diseases (although it is probably more accurate to call them 'conditions' rather than 'diseases' since they cannot be caught from another person or from the environment but must inherit them) result when parents each have a single gene that, when combined with a copy of that gene from the other parent, causes a condition to move from potential to expressed. One can use the condition of hemophilia to explain how this works. If a…

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Gene Therapy

Gene Therapy The concept of gene therapy first emerged in 1972 when the scientists were too cautious about the insertion of a foreign gene in the genomics of an individual. The use of genes for the treatment of medical conditions is known as gene therapy. The main pharmaceutical agent being used in this case is the DNA. The main principle…

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DNA Is the Abbreviation for

Through the years, scientists have learned that the normally fragile DNA molecule can exist for hundreds, thousands and even millions of years in "certain extraordinary preserved specimens" (Poinar Pp). The sophisticated tools of molecular biology, used most often to foretell an organism's genetic future, can also be used to decipher an organism's past (Poinar Pp). Today, scientists are "exploiting the techniques of gene amplification and sequencing to decipher biological events that took place in the very distant past' (Poinar Pp). Reading the ancient history encoded in DNA from people, animals and plants, allows researchers to "fill in missing links on phylogenetic trees or to identify the remains of organisms long extinct" (Poinar Pp). The study of DNA damage and repair was initiated and has continued to be conducted for many years by scientists interested in the effects of radiation on biological systems (Sancar Pp). As a result, these topics have been only of peripheral interest to the majority of biological scientists interested in replication, transcription, gene regulation, and cell cycle (Sancar Pp). In fact, DNA damage and repair occur under physiological conditions as part of normal cellular events, therefore, "even a reductionist description of cellular processes must necessarily encompass DNA repair" (Sancar Pp). In recent years, an important conceptual breakthrough in molecular biology has been the realization of the intimate interconnections between basic cellular reactions, cell cycle, replication, transcription, recombination, repair, previously believed to function more or less independently (Sancar Pp). Such an integrative approach is expected to lead to a better understanding of the cell and the organism, which in turn would help in "designing better approaches to cancer treatment and may even help with our long-standing quest for slowing the aging process" (Sancar Pp). DNA mismatch repair, MMR, guards the integrity of the genome in virtually all cells and contributes roughly 1000-fold to the overall fidelity of replication and targets mispaired bases that arise from replication errors, "during homologous recombination, and as a result of DNA damage" (Hsieh Pp). Cells that are deficient in MMR have a mutator phenotype in which the rate of spontaneous mutation is greatly elevated, and frequently "exhibit microsatellite instability at mono- and dinucleotide repeats" (Hsieh Pp). In addition to its role in postreplication repair, the MMR machinery serves to police homologous recombination events and acts as a barrier to genetic exchange between species (Hsieh Pp). Perhaps the most exciting prospect is that efforts…

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Biotechnology the Origins of Biotechnology

" (Torrey, 1922, p.72) For instance, Mendel cross-bred two pea plants, each with two sets of traits: yellow or green color and a smooth or wrinkled surface. From these humble beginnings, a distinct discipline of biotechnology has developed which specifically deals with the mechanisms of heredity: genetics. This development has come about primarily through the use of fermentation as an industrial mechanism. The need for a better and more efficient fermentation process led to experimentation and the introduction of industrialized biotechnology. And the use of biological agents in industry then "let to formulations of an ideal for biotechnology that has lasted to the present day, having been co-opted as the new possibilities for recombinant DNA technology came to be voiced in the late 1970's." (Hessenbruch, 2000, p.85) But the most impressive result that has developed from the work of Gregor Mendel, beside the birth of genetics and the discovery of DNA, has been the Human Genome Project (HGP). The goal of the HGP has been to use the latest DNA technology to map the entire human genome, or all of the genes that constitute human DNA. As a result of years of work, the HGP has successfully identified all of the 20 to 25 thousand genes that make up human DNA, and now uses this information for research, analysis, as well as the development of new technologies. DNA technology is only one aspect of biotechnology, but it was one of the first applications to be used by humans; even before it was fully understood. And since the work of scientists and researchers like Gregor Mendel, the study of heredity has evolved into the study of genetics, which has spawned the development of a specific branch of biotechnology called DNA technology. References Bateson, William. (1913). Mendel's Principles of Heredity. London: Cambridge UP. Print. Hessenbruch, Arne. (2000). Reader's Guide to the History of Science. Chicago, IL: Fitzroy Dearborn. Print. Pierce, Benjamin. (2012). Genetics: A Conceptual Approach. New York: W.H. Freeman. Print. Torrey, Ray Ethan. (1922). The Anatomy and Physiology……

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Positive and Negative Impacts of

(Surhan, 2002) It is quite evident that genetic engineering has various pros and cons. We should be careful that the moral issues related to the genetic engineering shall be given more priority rather than the constructive and economic issues. The developed countries should also try to have a control on the activities of this field so that they might not…

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Genetics Option 3: Darwin's Perspective

Indeed, as genetic diseases become curable or at least controllable more children with potential diseases can be helped and placed in homes. Certainly many issues and concerns need to be taken into consideration in the field of genetics. And definitely it is not an exact science. But few things are. When the intricacies of medical technology and indeed all technology are considered, few things are a certainty. Yet the basis of knowledge that human beings have accumulated over only the last century is staggering. This basis of knowledge is the result of thousands of years of evolution, starting with the first spark of fire. Ethical considerations, while having its place, should therefore be used as a guideline rather than a detriment to genetic science. On the other hand, scientists should be willing to make public any knowledge that would benefit humankind, and furthermore such knowledge should not be monopolized only by the rich and the powerful (Martone). The science of genetics, in other words, should be applied with responsibility. The choice of responsibility towards not only its own species, but also towards others, is also a uniquely human quality. It has been suggested by Kolata that the animal and natural environment can benefit from genetic technology. But will human beings choose to do this if it means a significant investment in time and money, the benefits of which will not be immediately apparent? According to Martone, the rich and powerful are already working on monopolizing the genetic engineering industry to benefit themselves only. This is where responsibility becomes a prominent issue. If "survival" of the species rather than the rich and powerful elitist individual is truly the concern, the responsibility lies with human beings to ensure that not only the species, but also its means of survival prevails. This includes all aspects of the environment in terms of food and energy resources. Genetic engineering thus offers much in terms of survival, but the opportunity must be used correctly. This responsibility then touches upon a more basic field than ethics or religion. All scientific fields can and should work together in order to use their newly acquired tools correctly. Oceanographers and environmentalists can identify genetic needs that genetic engineers can fulfill. Funding organizations can work to fund research programs. Knowledge about all these issues should be made publicly available to ensure that all human beings realize what is at stake. Even…

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Breast Cancer How Genes Influence

Because of that, the -656 G. allele has the potential to harbor a "higher production" of APE1 (Kang, 100). That would create the biological plausibility that APE1- 656TG/GG genotypes are then expected to be associated with a lower breast cancer risk (Kang, 100). Kang found that -656 T>G polymorphism was associated with a risk of breast cancer on a significantly…

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Virtual PCR and DNA Sequencing Experiment

PCR-DNA Experiment Abstract- Science and Biology have not been the same since the discovery and subsequent research on the mechanisms of DNA, the gene, and the way that chemicals combine to form traits. Numerous projects have stemmed from the original work, among which the Human Genome Project is possibly the most famous. For our purposes, using a virtual laboratory simulation, DNA samples were extracted and amplified for analysis. Computer analysis found the samples to be pure enough to allow for a strong statistical probability that they were Bartonella henselae, a common animal vector bacterial transfer. Introduction- DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a fascinating modern subject that has implications far beyond science and technology. Since 1953, when the double helix was discovered by James Watson and Francis Crick, science has never been the same. In fact, Crick is known to have remarked shortly after they confirmed their findings, "We have found the secret of life!" (Nobel). DNA is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and some viruses. The main role of DNA molecules is the long-term storage of information. DNA is often compared to a set of blueprints or a recipe, or a code, since it contains the instructions needed to construct other components of cells, such as proteins and RNA molecules. The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in regulating the use of this genetic information. Chemically, DNA consists of two long polymers of simple units called nucleotides, with backbones made of sugars and phosphate groups joined by ester bonds. These two strands run in opposite directions to each other and are therefore anti-parallel. Attached to each sugar is one of four types of molecules called bases. It is the sequence of these four bases along the backbone that encodes information. This information is read using the genetic code, which specifies the sequence of the amino acids within proteins. The code is read by copying stretches of DNA into the related nucleic acid RNA, in a process called transcription (Walker and Jones). Materials and Methods - In this simulation, all laboratory materials were virtual, but the technique and methods were appropriate techniques……

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PCR and DNA Sequencing Experiment

PCR and DNA Sequencing Experiment PCR and DNA Sequencing PCR and DNA sequencing were used to identify a bacterium isolated from a patient. The bacterium was determined to be Bartonella henselae. B. henselae is associated with cat scratch disease (CSD) and is transmitted to humans via cats. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has been used to amplify segments of DNA for many years. It is a very useful tool for further molecular manipulations with a piece of DNA (Liang). Also, it makes the study of bacteria that are difficult to grow in laboratory conditions easier since only the DNA is needed for PCR not pure colonies. PCR takes advantage of a highly conserved strand of bacterial DNA that can be used as universal primers to make copies of bacterial DNA called 16S rDNA. Now, using these conserved 16S rDNA primers and fluorescently labeled terminal nucleotides in a PCR one can make a lot of small fragments of DNA copies that then can be used to sequence the DNA strand (Hiraishi). The resulting fragments are then separated electrophoretically in a DNA sequencing machine that also reads the fluorescent labels of the terminal nucleotides thus determining the sequence of the small overlapping fragments, which are then used to construct the entire DNA sequence. The purpose of this research was to identify a bacterium from a patient sample using PCR and DNA sequencing methods. The bacterium was identified to be Bartonella henselae. Materials and Methods A patient sample was taken and isolated bacterial colonies were grown from this sample on solid media. Bacterial DNA was extracted from an isolated colony by breaking down the cell wall with proteases and separating the cell debris from the DNA by centrifuging. The supernatant containing the bacterial DNA was then amplified using standard PCR methods (Mullis). An initial incubation at 95°C for ten minutes was followed by 30 cycles of the following conditions: Melt at 95°C for 30 seconds, anneal at 60°C for 30 seconds, and extend at 72°C for 45 seconds. The PCR is completed by a final extension at 72°C for 10 minutes then stored at 4°C. Next, the amplified bacterial DNA was purified using a microconcentrator column. A buffer and the DNA sample were applied to the column and centrifuged at 3000 rpm for fifteen minutes, which collects the amplified DNA on the column. The column is then inverted into a clean tube and washed…

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Genetics or Evolution

Biology Genetics or Evolution In the article How the Butterflies got their Spots (2010), it talks about how scientists at Cambridge have found "hotspots" in butterflies' genes that they believe will explain one of the most extraordinary examples of mimicry in the natural world. They believe that their discovery will explain the phenomenon of how two butterfly species have evolved exactly the same striking wing color and pattern. Heliconius, or passion-vine butterflies, live in the Americas and although they cannot interbreed, H. melpomene and H. erato have evolved to mimic one another perfectly. These butterflies have splashes of red and yellow on their black wings that signal to birds that they contain toxins and are extremely unpleasant. These two butterflies mimic one another's color and pattern in order to reinforce these warning signals. A team of researchers from UK and U.S. universities led by experts from Cambridge, have been breeding the butterflies in Panama for the past decade, and have been searching for the genes responsible for the butterflies' wing……

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Gene Therapy FDA Ethics Can

"Gene therapy is a medical intervention based on modification of the genetic material of living cells. Cells may be modified ex-vivo for subsequent administration to humans, or may be altered in vivo by gene therapy given directly to the subject. When the genetic manipulation is performed ex-vivo on cells which are then administered to the patient, this is also a form of somatic cell therapy. The genetic manipulation may be intended to have a therapeutic or prophylactic effect, or may provide a way of marking cells for later identification. Recombinant DNA materials used to transfer genetic material for such therapy are considered components of gene therapy and as such are subject to regulatory oversight." (Murphy, p3) New drugs and medical techniques that wish to receive approval have to go through many steps to final market acceptance. On e overseer of the gene therapy process is the CBER which stands for the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. Their main function is to regulate all human gene therapy products. This entails all products made that introduce any type of genetic material into a human body with the intent of replacing some faulty or missing genetic material. The objective of this process must currently be to treat or cure a disease or abnormal medical condition. CBER has at its disposal various legal means to help it such as the 'Public Health Service Act and the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act as enabling statutes for oversight.' "All gene therapy products and most somatic cell therapy products are regulated by the FDA. See "A Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cellular and Tissue-Based Products," February 28, 1997, (62 FR 9721) as well as subsequent regulations and policy issued in this area." (Murphy) The FDA has not approved human gene therapy products for free market sale but there is currently so much gene-related research and development occurring throughout the United States and the world that the FDA has had to incorporate all new process to verify that legal mandates are being followed by all involved in this potential trillion dollar industry. References Brannigan, Michael C. Ethical Issues in Human Cloning: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives. New York, NY: Seven Bridges Press, LLC, 2000. Food and Drug Administration. "Cellular & Gene Therapy Products." Retrieved on December 7, 2009, from FDA at: http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/CellularGeneTherapyProducts/default.htm Murphy, Dano B.. "Guidance for Industry: Guidance for Human Somatic Cell, Therapy and Gene Therapy." U.S.…

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DNA the Structure and Nature

Translation allows for the production of proteins in ribosomes according to the genetic code within the DNA molecule. In other words, the blueprint for life encoded in the DNA helix provides the chemical information necessary to produce a seemingly infinite variety of biological forms based on, among other factors, the synthesis of proteins according to the original genetic code. It is our knowledge of how DNA operates within living organisms to produce the endless variety of life that we see around us that is crucial to the way in which we consider and interact with biological processes. By grasping the chemical processes that lead to replication, transcription, translation, and protein synthesis within cells, we have gained a beginning of the understanding to intervene in these processes when necessary to rewrite the genetic code of lifeforms ("The Discovery of the Molecular Structure of DNA"). Scientists have been able to successfully insert specific genes and gene sequences, and thus create new protein expressions, into plants and animals to produce new traits or resistances that are valuable for combatting diseases or producing new expressions of life that were previously unknown. In this way, we have expanded our basic knowledge of biology and the role that DNA plays therein to manipulate life at a chemical level. Works Cited "The Discovery of the Molecular Structure of DNA - The Double Helix." The Official Web Site of the Nobel Foundation. 2009. 5 Dec. 2009 . Farabee, M.J. "Protein Synthesis." Estrella Mountain Community College. 6 June 2007. 5 Dec. 2009 . "Replication/Transcription/Translation." Radboud University Nijmegen. 12 Feb. 2008. 5 Dec. 2009 .…

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Future of DNA Testing

Future of DNA Testing The Beginnings of Genetic Identity Testing DNA fingerprinting Genetic identity testing establishes the patterns of genetic material, which is specific and unique for almost every human being.1 The sequence differences between individuals are used as basis for identity testing. The techniques applied are DNA fingerprinting, DNA profiling, and DNA typing. Identity testing in crime investigation began…

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How Does Genes Affect the Way We Look and Act?

Genes The last two decades have brought an amazing amount of gene research to the forefront of the scientific world. The possibilities presented by such research are complex, yet exciting to ponder. Scientists can now manipulate genes in manners previously unthinkable, yet with the discovery of DNA and how genes affect humans, animals, and the world in which they interact…

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Survival Theory Richard Dawkins' the Selfish Gene

Survival Theory Richard Dawkins' the Selfish Gene and Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools Sociobiology uses the Darwinian theory of evolution to understand human social behavior. To do so, sociobiologists make several key assumptions. First, sociobiologists assume that "traits less adapted to particular conditions of life will not persist in a population, because organisms with those traits will…

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Plasmids "Construction of the Mobilizable

"This plasmid has all the genes of its parental pMV158 and harbors the gfp gene under the control of the Pm inducible promoter." (Nieto, 2003, p. 283) In other words, this plasmid is the pMV158 plasmid but with a gfp gene under to the control of maltose inserted into it. With the pMV158gfp plasmid created, the authors then had to test whether or not this plasmid had the ability to transfer between bacteria, or mobilize, and at what frequency, if any, this occurred. The plasmid pMV158 had previously been mobilized between pneumococcal and lactococcal strains of bacteria by means of incorporation into a separate auxiliary plasmid. The authors needed to use such an auxiliary plasmid to test whether their pMV158gfp plasmid could be transferred between three different species of Gram-positive bacteria: S. pneumoniae, L. lactis, and E. faecalis. They used pAM?1 as their auxiliary plasmid with the pMV158 and their pMV158gfp used as the replicons to be transferred. Nieto and Espinosa then used a newly developed mobilzation assay "based on the nutritional differences between pneumococcal and lactococcal" to select for transconjugants, or bacteria that have incorporated the new DNA into their cells. (Nieto 2003, p. 283) And by growing the bacteria in maltose, fluorescence could be used to test for the incorporation of the plasmids. According to the authors, all three strains of bacteria showed a measurable fluorescence "although cells of E. faecalis/pMV158GFP exhibited such a high level of fluorescence that the color was appreciable when colonies were illuminated with an UV lamp." (Nieto, 2003, p. 284) With the creation of pMV158GFP a new tool has been developed that can be used to observe the processes of bacteria, especially infectious bacteria. And since its development, pMV158GFP has been transferred to more that a dozen species of bacteria. It has also been used to develop a test for the "colonization and persistence of lactic acid bacteria in dairy products," using fluorescence as an indicator during the production of cheese. (Nieto, 2003, p. 285) And with a plasmid that can be mobilize between bacteria containing the fluorescence marker gfp, the future application of this tool is almost limitless when investigating the processes of bacteria. References Nieto, Concepcion, and Manuel Espinoza. (2003). Construction of the mobilizable plasmid pMV158GFP, a derivative of pMV158 that carries the gene encoding the green fluorescent protein. Plasmid 49: 281-285.…

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Physical Life Science

Physical Life Science Genes are the basic genetic material or the fundamental 'building blocks' of life. They are made up of spiraled sequences called DNA. (Deoxyribonucleic acid). They provide instructions for the cells and are responsible for specific traits of the body. Proteins are vital amino acids synthesized within the body that control the structural (hair, nails, etc.) and functional aspects (enzyme functions, saliva, digestive enzymes, muscle movement (myosin), etc.) of the entire cellular network of the body. Genes are like the 'blueprint for protein synthesis' and every gene is responsible for coding for a particular protein or a segment of a polypeptide. Genes and proteins are associated in a complex relationship, while the genes encode for proteins the proteins in turn control the expression of a gene. Since the completion of the human genome project in 2003 the issue of genetic screening for hereditary diseases has become a much-debated one with ethical undertones. Presently researchers have found more than 4000 genetically inherited diseases and results have identified the specific genes responsible for more than 450 of them. [Cherie Dimaline]. For parents who have a family history of chronic genetically inherited degenerative diseases genetic screening would offer a scientific way to know the predisposition of their children to such diseases. Particularly for chronic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, muscular dystrophy and sickle cell anemia genetic screening and counseling will provide prospective parents with enough information about the potential risk and would also give them more time to make informed decisions regarding future pregnancies. Further, the genetic counselor can also discuss treatment options if they are available for a particular genetic condition. Gene therapy is already being tested for Muscular Dystrophy and as molecular medicine advances more genetic disorders can be successfully managed. [Dr. Joseph F. Smith] 3) the DNA (has a double helical structure) is the principal component of the chromosomes while the gene is actually a segment of the DNA molecule, which can code for a particular protein. Genes control the production of proteins, which control the structural and functional metabolism of the body. [IBAC] Transcription……

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DNA an Investigators Silent Partner

DNA- An Investigator's Silent Partner This essay is about DNA fingerprinting and how it has become a silent partner in the war on crime. The ever popular O.J. Simpson murder trial in the early 90's made DNA evidence another household concept. Since that trial, DNA evidence has become a common feature throughout American criminal trials and jurisprudence. "As a forensic tool, DNA analysis was initially used to link an already known suspect to a particular crime scene. In these situations, law enforcement officers obtain DNA from the suspect and compare it to DNA recovered from the crime scene." (Peterson) Direct analysis of known suspects DNA has become a very common forensic tool. Today, the FBI and many other law enforcement agencies house individuals DNA samples in electronic databases. "Combining the results of several genetic systems as is done in DNA fingerprinting by the direct use of the product rule is based on an assumption of random mating, because it assumes that any profile of alleles at more than one locus occurs at random, that alleles at different loci even if initially found together in a subpopulation, will randomize over time." (Schacter 155) These databases carry both convicted and innocent individuals information and the objective is to create an efficient and universal acceptable DNA fingerprint process. The norm in criminal investigation today is that if and when a crime occurs and DNA evidence is recovered, the police literally compare that sample against any and all previously obtained DNA fingerprints that are already in the database. There have been many inadvertent matches that have led to convictions but there have also been many innocent men released from custody once it was discovered that they could not have committed a crime for which they were convicted. DNA Fingerprinting The reason DNA is such an effective forensic identification tool requires insights into the DNA molecule. DNA fingerprinting has been distinguished as a very accurate methodology for identification. "Allozymes, DNA Fingerprinting, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), minisatellite, and microsatellite techniques shed light on population differentiation and genetic variability." (Caro 14) the fingerprinting concept is based on the same philosophy as the art of fingerprinting - each fingerprint is unique. DNA represents a two-stranded molecule and each strand is a polynucleotide composed of a (adenosine), T (thymidine), C (cytidine), and G (guanosine) residues. These residues are polymerized by 'dehydration' synthesis in a unique linear chain of sequences. Modern…

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DNA, Which to Some of You Probably

¶ … DNA, which to some of you probably sounds like some kind of esoteric scientific research; or maybe others of you understand DNA as part of the basic human building blocks of biology; and surely all of us are aware of DNA in the context of crime lab stories we see on TV and read about in the newspapers. Prisoners are being set free thanks to DNA evidence that clears them of hideous crimes. Let me assure you, all three of those general categories about DNA are correct, so thank you for your attention as I try to explain for you: a) what DNA really is; b) how it was discovered (or uncovered might be a better word); c) who did the major work in finding the DNA code for all life; and d) lastly, and perhaps most pertinent in terms of our society, what role DNA plays in the criminal justice system. Understanding what role DNA science has played, and will continue to play, in our society, is very important, and I believe that every citizen who has an interest in important discoveries and tools for discovery - many that make our lives better - will want to know something significant about DNA. BODY of SPEECH The most pertinent thing we should look at first is of course the question of JUST WHAT IS DNA? We know it is in all living things, from trees to frogs to insects all the way up the chain to we humans. But what is it? According to the respected Web site www.about.com, the editors say DNA is "an acronym for DEOXYRIBONNUCLEIC ACID...a code used within cells to form proteins." Does that make sense? Let's look at the definition from www.medicinenet.com:"DNA is one of two types of molecules that encode genetic information. The other is RNA." So, in humans, DNA is the genetic material that defines us, and in most other living organisms, RNA is the generic material and DNA is transcribed from RNA. Make sense so far? HOW DID the EARTH BEGIN and WHEN WAS DNA DISCOVERED? First, let's go back in time to the origins of the universe, to get a total historical perspective. The earth was "born" about FOUR-and-a-HALF BILLION years ago, according to the best scientific estimates, printed in the Taipei Times on Sunday, October 15. Earth and the sun and our solar system were born in a…

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Gene Therapy Treatment in Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle Gene Gene Therapies for Sickle Cell Anemia: Annotated Bibliography Kohn, D. & Candotti, F. (2009). Gene therapy fulfilling its promise. NEJM 360(5): 518-21. This brief and relatively broad review details a diversity of the advances that have been made in gene therapy since techniques first began to emerge in the latter half of the twentieth century. A wide variety of different disorders and diseases have been treated and relived if not put into full remission/disappearance through the use of gene therapies, and though such therapies are not the magic bullet that the public often sees them as they do represent a more effective means of addressing many diseases than has been heretofore available. The author focuses on emerging treatments for X-linked SCID Lucarelli G., Gaziev, J., Isgro, a., Sodani, P…. & Andreani, M. (2012). Allogeneic cellular gene therapy in hemoglobinopathies -- evaluation of hematopoietic SCT in sickle cell anemia. Bone Marrow Transplantation 47: 227-30. This study examined eleven patients suffering from sickle cell anemia and tracked their progress following treatment with stem cell transplantation from an HLA-identical and related donor. One patient in the study died a year following the transplantation, however the remaining ten patients were still free of any sickle cell anemia symptoms five years following the transplantation. This research confirms that stem cell transplantation from suitable HLA-identical donors is a promising therapy that provides an excellent survival rate and the ability for patients to lead sickle cell-free lives. Morstyn, G. & Sheridan, W. (2006). Cell Therapy. New York: Cambridge University Press. This textbook contains broad yet advanced descriptions of stem cell and certain other genetic therapy techniques that developed in the last several decade providing a state-of-the-art glimpse into certain practices and capabilities. The authors do not have a specific perspective or viewpoint that they attempt to assert nor do they engage in any primary research themselves, but instead they provide an overview of the science of cell therapy and many of its specific incarnations. While not directly related to sickle cell anemia (at least not wholly so), the information this source contains on cell therapies is highly relevant and useful for foundational knowledge. Papanikolaou, E. & Anagnou, N. (2010). Major Challenges for Gene Therapy of Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Disease. Current Gene Therapy 10(5): 404-12. Retroviral vectors have been postulated as potentially useful agents in certain gene therapies, yet a variety of problems exist in…

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