Molecular Biology & DNA

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Ethanol is used in DNA extraction to force the DNA to precipitate in a solution. In order to collect a DNA sample, cells are broken down through agitation, then mixed with water, salt and ethanol to create an aqueous solution. Ethanol and salt work to prevent the DNA from dissolving into the water, instead causing it to precipitate out so it can be separated and extracted using a centrifuge.

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  • What Is a Codon and Where Is It Found?

    Q: What Is a Codon and Where Is It Found?

    A: A codon is a sequence of three nucleotides in DNA or RNA that either codes for a particular amino acid or tells the cellular machinery to start or stop using the code. A group of codons starts with the initiation codon. It then has codons in sequence that gives instructions on the amino acids to use to build a protein, and it then has a stop codon to signal when the protein assembly is complete. Normally, there is one initiation codon and three stop codons, and most amino acids are represented by more than one codon.
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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 Is a Temperate Phage?

    Q: What Is a Temperate Phage?

    A: A phage is a virus that behaves as a parasite on bacteria and is also referred to as bacteriophage. A temperate phage, is a phage that is able to exist as a prophage while it lives within its host at any point of its life cycle.
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  • What Is LOD Score?

    Q: What Is LOD Score?

    A: In genetics, LOD, short for "logarithm of the odds," is a score that helps to determine whether certain traits are likely to be inherited. The closer two genes are to each other on the chromosome, the more likely a person is to inherit those genes together.
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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 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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  • How Are Genes Related to DNA?

    Q: How Are Genes Related to DNA?

    A: Each cell of a living organism contains a set of instructions that explains how to build the various components of the plant, animal, fungus or bacteria. DNA is the substance that living things use to carry these instructions. DNA groups itself in discrete clusters that supply the code for a given trait. Scientists refer to each of these clusters as genes.
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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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  • What Is Protein Turnover?

    Q: What Is Protein Turnover?

    A: Protein turnover refers to the degradation of proteins over time. It reflects the balance between a cells synthesis of protein and that proteins breakdown. This factor determines the concentration of a protein existing within a cell.
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  • What Is Gregor Mendel Famous For?

    Q: What Is Gregor Mendel Famous For?

    A: Gregor Mendel is known for his discoveries in the study of heredity. He has been nicknamed "the father of modern genetics."
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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 Chromatin Made Of?

    Q: What Is Chromatin Made Of?

    A: Chromatin is made of nucleic acids, such as DNA or RNA, and proteins. During cell division, chromatin condenses to form chromosomes. Eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells differ in where chromatin is housed. In eukaryotes, it is located in the nucleus and in prokaryotes, it is located in the nucleoid.
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  • What Is the Difference Between Heredity and Genetics?

    Q: What Is the Difference Between Heredity and Genetics?

    A: Heredity refers to the passing of characteristics from parents to offspring. Genetics is the study of heredity, genes and variations in organisms. Heredity occurs in plants, animals, bacteria and fungi.
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  • How Rare Are Gray Eyes?

    Q: How Rare Are Gray Eyes?

    A: After green eyes, gray and silver eye color are among the rarer shades. The only eye colors more rare in humans are the honey-gold amber eye color and red eyes.
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  • Where Do Paramecia Live?

    Q: Where Do Paramecia Live?

    A: Paramecia are single-cell organisms that live in ponds, rivers, lakes, streams and puddles. Some paramecia survive inside the bodies of animals or in soft, moist soil.
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  • What Is the Mitochondrial Eve?

    Q: What Is the Mitochondrial Eve?

    A: Mitochondrial Eve is a concept in molecular biology that refers to a common ancestor of all of the currently living anatomically modern human beings. The concept describes a maternal lineage of mitochondrial DNA that originated approximately 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
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  • Four Ways Bacteria Can Be Helpful to Humans

    Q: Four Ways Bacteria Can Be Helpful to Humans

    A: Many people may have negative connotations come to mind when they think of bacteria. However, not all bacteria is harmful to humans. Some bacteria aids digestion, makes certain foods, battles infection and strengthens the body.
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  • What Is Genetic Splicing?

    Q: What Is Genetic Splicing?

    A: Genetic splicing is the process in which an organism's DNA is cut and another gene is added. It is used so single-celled organisms can produce certain products, such as insulin, and produces genetically altered organisms.
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  • What Is the Function of a Centrosome?

    Q: What Is the Function of a Centrosome?

    A: Centrosomes are organelles responsible for the organization and nucleation of microtubules in animal cells and also regulate the cell cycle during cellular division. When the nuclear membrane breaks down during mitosis, the chromosomes interact with the centrosome nucleated microtubules to build the mitotic spindle. The centrosome plays a key role in efficient mitosis, but it is not considered essential.
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  • What Organelle Contains Chemicals That Help Digest Food?

    Q: What Organelle Contains Chemicals That Help Digest Food?

    A: The lysosomes contain chemicals that help digest food and worn-out cell parts. These organelles are located in the cytoplasm, a gel-like substance inside the cell membrane.
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  • Why Does DNA Need to Replicate?

    Q: Why Does DNA Need to Replicate?

    A: DNA replicates to make copies of itself. This is an indispensable process that allows cells to divide for a living organism to grow or reproduce. Each new cell needs a DNA copy, which serves as instructions on how to function as a cell.
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