Molecular Biology & DNA

A:

Nucleic acids are biochemical macromolecules that store and transfer genetic information in the cell. They use their stored genetic information to direct the synthesis of new proteins in the cell. New proteins can be synthesized by the ribosomes from the DNA and genes held in the nucleic acids.

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  • Where are enzymes made?

    Q: Where are enzymes made?

    A: According to Georgia State University, enzymes are created at ribosomes, which are either embedded in the rough endoplasmic reticulum or free in the cytoplasm. Ribosomes are the site of all protein synthesis, and according to Elmhurst College, the vast majority of enzymes are proteins.
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  • How are mutations passed on to offspring?

    Q: How are mutations passed on to offspring?

    A: The NIH Genetics Home Reference Handbook explains that mutations are passed to offspring if these mutations are present in germ line (sperm or egg) cells. Germ line mutations can occur early in the parent's development so that they affect all of the cells in the parent's body, including eventual gametes. These mutations can also occur in gametes alone and therefore only affect offspring.
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  • What happens during protein synthesis?

    Q: What happens during protein synthesis?

    A: Protein synthesis is the process of converting the DNA sequence to a sequence of amino acids to form a specific protein. It involves three main steps: transcription of mRNA from the DNA sequence, initiation of the translation of the mRNA sequence to an amino acid sequence and elongation of the protein chain as the mRNA codes for additional amino acids to be added to the growing chain.
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  • What is the function of chromosomes?

    Q: What is the function of chromosomes?

    A: Reference.com says that the function of chromosomes is to carry hereditary information. Chromosomes are located in the nucleus of a cell, and when a cell divides, so do the chromosomes.
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  • How many different kinds of bases can be found in DNA?

    Q: How many different kinds of bases can be found in DNA?

    A: Human DNA contains a total of approximately 3 billion base pairs within the genome. These base pairs are contained within 23 chromosome pairs.
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  • What do hox genes do?

    Q: What do hox genes do?

    A: Hox genes control the development of an organism. Specifically, they are a set of transcription factor genes that determine the anterior-posterior axis and the segments of an organism's body.
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  • Does baldness come from your mother's father?

    Q: Does baldness come from your mother's father?

    A: Some scientists have concluded that male pattern baldness is handed down via a faulty gene through the male's maternal line. In other words, a man can get an idea of how his hair loss is likely to proceed from the appearance of men in his mother's family. The suspicious gene is in the X chromosome, which men inherit from their mothers.
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  • How are chromosomes structured?

    Q: How are chromosomes structured?

    A: The simplest way to describe chromosome structure is as an X-shaped microscopic bit of genetic information that's part of DNA. However, this is not the only way that chromosomes can be structured, and new research that came out in 2013 calls the popularly accepted X-shape structure into question.
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  • What is genetic manipulation?

    Q: What is genetic manipulation?

    A: Genetic manipulation, also called genetic engineering, refers to the alteration of the genes of an organism. It involves manually adding new DNA to an organism to add new traits. Examples of genetically engineered organisms include plants that are resistant to certain insects, plants that tolerate herbicides and crops with altered oil content.
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  • What is the chemical composition of carbohydrates?

    Q: What is the chemical composition of carbohydrates?

    A: All carbohydrates are made from carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They have twice as many hydrogen atoms as oxygen atoms. The word "carbohydrate" is a combination of the names of these elements and means "watered carbon." The presence of carbon makes carbohydrates organic, rather than inorganic, compounds.
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  • What are the functions of glycoproteins?

    Q: What are the functions of glycoproteins?

    A: Glycoproteins provide many functions: they give structural support to cells, help to form connective tissues and facilitate digestion by producing secretions and mucous in the gastrointestinal tract. Glycoproteins are handy cell components and are found in many places within cells.
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  • How does molecular size affect diffusion rate?

    Q: How does molecular size affect diffusion rate?

    A: Diffusion rates are dependent on molecular sizes because larger molecules diffuse slower than smaller molecules. The sizes of the particles involved in the diffusion are important because they closely relate to the concepts of heat and energy in the context of diffusion. It takes more energy and heat to move a larger object than a smaller one, so larger particles require more heat from their surroundings.
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  • What is the difference between chromatin vs. chromosome?

    Q: What is the difference between chromatin vs. chromosome?

    A: Chromatin and chromosomes are both structures of DNA, but chromosomes are condensed chromatin. DNA exists as chromatin a majority of the time so that the DNA is accessible to proteins for transcription and proteins can be made during the process of translation. Chromatin is condensed into chromosomes during mitosis to ensure that replicated genetic information is divided equally between the two resulting daughter cells.
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  • What is the difference between chromosomes and genes?

    Q: What is the difference between chromosomes and genes?

    A: Genes are individual segments of DNA and chromosomes are structures which contain many genes packed together. Each chromosome contains one DNA molecule and each DNA molecule contains several genes or individual strands.
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  • What is the lacZ gene?

    Q: What is the lacZ gene?

    A: The lacZ gene is a gene present in E. coli that encodes the protein beta-galactosidase. Beta-galactosidase is an enzyme that is essential for the breakdown of lactose as it cleaves a bond between the two carbon rings in lactose to produce glucose and galactose.
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  • What is the function of the Golgi body?

    Q: What is the function of the Golgi body?

    A: The Golgi apparatus collects simple chemicals in the cell and assembles them into large, complex structures such as proteins. It also plays a role in the process of simple chemical secretion by forming closed vesicles around the substance to be transported. These vesicles then pinch off from the Golgi apparatus and drift to the cell's plasma membrane where the transported substance is released from the cell.
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  • What is the principle of dominance?

    Q: What is the principle of dominance?

    A: The principle of dominance is a genetic law that states that the offspring of individuals with contrasting traits will only express the dominant trait. The discovery was made by Gregor Mendel and thus, the law is also called "Mendel's Law."
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  • How does DNA determine the traits of an organism?

    Q: How does DNA determine the traits of an organism?

    A: The pattern of base pairs in the DNA double helix encodes the instructions for building the proteins necessary to construct an entire organism. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is found within most cells of an organism, and most organisms have their own unique DNA code. One exception to this is cloned organisms, which have the same exact DNA code as their parents do.
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  • Is parthenogenesis possible in humans?

    Q: Is parthenogenesis possible in humans?

    A: Parthenogenesis is possible in humans but very unlikely to result in a viable baby. In order for an embryo to develop from an unfertilized egg, the egg would have to sense a spike in calcium, skip meiosis and then lose at least two specific maternal genes.
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  • What is the Hardy-Weinberg principle?

    Q: What is the Hardy-Weinberg principle?

    A: The Hardy-Weinberg principle states that the genetic variation in a population stays constant over generations in the absence of disruptive factors. The concept predicts that when mating occurs randomly in a vast population, the allele and genotype frequencies remain consistent because they are in equilibrium.
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  • Why must DNA be able to make copies of itself?

    Q: Why must DNA be able to make copies of itself?

    A: The University of Illinois at Chicago explains that DNA must replicate itself so that during cell division, both daughter cells receive the same genetic information. DNA replication is necessary during the process by which somatic cells divide, called mitosis, as well as during meiosis, the process by which organisms produce gametes, or sex cells.
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