DNA replication refers to the production process of 2 identical replicas from 1 original DNA molecule. It is a biological process that takes place in all living things. In essence, DNA replication forms biological inheritance basis. The two strands serve as the reproduction templates of opposite strands. The replication process is different in eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. All cell proteins are made by the information carried by DNA and the proteins implement the functions of living organisms. In addition to this, DNA also determines the characteristics of an organism. Once the cell reproduces, the information is passed to daughter cells. Before reproduction takes place in a cell, they must first of all, replicate or make DNA copy.
Where the replication of the DNA takes place depends on whether it is a eukaryote or prokaryote cell. Note replication occurs in cytoplasm of prokaryotes as well as eukaryotes nucleus. The process of replication is the same despite of where it occurs. DNA structure also lends itself with great ease to replication with each double helix side running in opposite direction. The best thing about the structure is the fact it unzips down each side and down the middle therefore serving as a template or pattern for that other side. This is also known as semi-conservative replication. Though this is the case, it is essential to note that DNA doesn’t unzip entirely but rather, it unzips in small areas known as replication fork then moves down the length of that molecule.
In cells, replication of DNA begins at definite origins or location of replication within the genome. DNA unwinding at its origin and the synthesis of new strands leads to replication forms that grow bidirectional from origin. There are a couple of proteins associated with replication form and they help in regard to continuation and initiation of DNA synthesis. Most prominently though, DNA polymerase aids in synthesizing new DNA through addition of complimentary nucleotides to template strands.
There are instances when replication of DNA is carried out in vitro (outside the cell artificially). DNA polymerase which is isolated from the cells and artificial DNA primers are used for purposes of initiating synthesis of DNA at sequences that are known in template DNA molecules. A laboratory technique that is widely known referred to as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) applies cyclically such synthesis for purpose of amplifying specific DNA target from the DNA pool.
DNA polymerase is a family of enzymes responsible for carrying our different DNA replication forms. However, it is essential to note polymerase only extends existing DNA strands paired with template strands and cannot trigger synthesis of new strands. To start synthesis, a short RNA or DNA fragment known as a primer is created then paired with DNA template strand.
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