Why Is DNA Replication Called Semiconservative?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 29, 2020 8:24:20 PM ET

DNA replication is known as semiconservative replication because half of the original DNA strand is conserved throughout the replication process. A new strand of DNA forms by using half of the original strand as a template.

DNA replication begins with the separation of two complementary strands of DNA. Enzymes unwind and separate the base pairs of the DNA. Next, complementary DNA strands are synthesized and are bonded to one of the separated strands of the original DNA. Finally, DNA replication produces two new strands of DNA that each have one strand of the original DNA matched to one new strand.