DNA Is the Abbreviation Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1041 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Genetics

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).

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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).

Term Paper on DNA Is the Abbreviation for Assignment

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 to understand molecular mechanisms of MMR will reveal the inner workings of many fundamental and conserved biological processes (Hsieh Pp).

The molecular biology revolution of the last few decades has reached into every conceivable corner of biological investigation (Poinar Pp). As DNA research continues, the keys to unlocking the mysteries of disease and aging will surely be revealed, thus ensuring a better quality of life for future generations.

Work Cited

"DNA." The Hutchinson Dictionary of Science. Helicon Publishing Ltd. 1998; Pp.

Poinar Jr., George. "Ancient DNA." American Scientist; 9/1/1999; Pp.

Sancar, Aziz. "DNA repair in humans." Annual Review of Genetics; 1/1/1995; Pp.

Hsieh, Peggy.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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