Exploring the Mystery of DNA Book Report

Pages: 5 (1357 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Genetics

Cells and Molecules

The Missing Substance

The 1866 landmark discovery of the father of heredity, George Johann Mendel, and his researchers on the mystery behind the transfer of traits from parent genes in chromosomes was incomplete and lacked something. Microbiologist Frederick Griffith in 1928 drew closer to the answer when his streptococcus experiment with mice when he found that genetic material was transmitted between cells, living or dead. It was in 1944 that the series of explosive experiments conducted by Oswald Avery and two associates pointed to the missing element in he works of Mendel and Griffith and their associates. Avery and his team identified this as a deocxyribose nucleic acid, a fundamental unit and the hereditary material in genes. DNA contains all the hereditary information about an organism. It also meant that virus genes consist of DNA rather than proteins. DNA means deoxyribonucleic acid. It contains the genes specific to a given species.

In Search of the Genetic Material

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The knowledge about the chromosomal basis of heredity and the relationship between genes and enzymes did not yield the answer these earlier scientists sought. Chromosomes contain both proteins and DNA. The original assumption was that genes were proteins. Griffith's experiments on bacteria served as the prototype of present methods in establishing or estimating the function of genes by inputting new DNA sequences into cells. Griffth's bacteria experiments involved the bacterium responsible for pneumonia. Deadly strains of the bacterium are protected by a polysaccharide capsule from the immune system of the host organism. The mice, which were inoculated with R- non-encapsulated bacteria and S-heat-killed encapsulated bacteria got ill of pneumonia and then died.

Succeeding experiments revealed that a cell-free extract of the S. bacteria could covert or transform R. bacteria to the S. state. A substance, which they termed the transforming principle, appeared responsible in triggering the transformation.

Book Report on Exploring the Mystery of DNA Assignment

Friedrich Miescher is recognized as the first to successfully identify DNA in 1869. His discovery started the study of DNA. His work was followed by the discovery of the contents of DNA in 1919 by Phoebus Levene. Succeeding scientists used new discoveries in figuring out how they fit together in forming long strands, which could be read. As their study proceeded, they found that parts of these strands could be read and certain traits of the organism could be determined. Today, DNA is a major study in the field of genetic engineering.

DNA: the Blueprint of Life

These genes in one organism's DNA create the cells of that organism. They also retain the blueprint of that organism. The great interest in DNA is seen as the way to understand how to fight certain diseases and how to replicate DNA strands in the laboratory. Among these diseases are sickle-cell anemia and Down's Syndrome. DNA is among the most important parts of a living organism. It consists of all that organism's building blocks and contains all the information and traits of the organisms. These include color, size, shape and deformities that can result from the formation of DNA strands as the organism develops.

Replication and Repair Processes

As DNA replicates, the cells can divide and repair any damage in the tissues. One DNA strand has two base polymers, which are long strands of protein molecules, running in different and parallel directions. They never cross each other. In between is the genetic material, which determines the unique characteristics of the new organism. They are formed by sugar molecules, in turn attached to bases of four different kinds. These bases are simple sugars, which create pairs. They merge in many ways repetitiously in creating the DNA blueprint. They are called chromosomes, which duplicate as cells divide.

This discovery of the complementary base pairing of these DNA strands immediately offered the answer to the question on how the genetic material could proceed with its own replication. The process is required for every cell division. The previous assumption was that two strands of a DNA molecule could split and serve as a basis for the synthesis of new complementing strands. It was also assumed that the sequence… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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