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Encyclopedia > Genetic material

Genetic material is used to store the genetic information of an organic life form. For all currently known living organisms, the genetic material is almost exclusively Deoxyribonucleic Acid DNA. Some viruses use Ribonucleic Acid RNA as their genetic material. This stylistic schematic diagram shows a gene in relation to the double helix structure of DNA and to a chromosome (right). ... The general structure of a section of DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions for the biological development of a cellular form of life or a virus. ... Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a nucleic acid polymer consisting of nucleotide monomers. ...

The first genetic material is generally believed to have been RNA, initially manifested by self-replicating RNA molecules floating on bodies of water. This hypothetical period in the evolution of cellular life is known as the RNA world. This hypothesis is based on RNA's ability to act both as genetic material and as a catalyst, known as ribozyme or a ribosome. However, once proteins, which can form enzymes, came into existence, the more stable molecule DNA became the dominant genetic material, a situation continued today. Not only does DNA's double-stranded nature allow for correction of mutations but RNA is inherently unstable. Modern cells use RNA mainly for the building of proteins from DNA instructions, in the form of messenger RNA, ribosomal RNA, and transfer RNA. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a nucleic acid polymer consisting of nucleotide monomers. ... The RNA world hypothesis proposes that RNA was, before the emergence of the first cell, the dominant, and probably the only, form of life. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Catalysis. ... A ribozyme (from ribonucleic acid enzyme, also called RNA enzyme or catalytic RNA) is an RNA molecule that catalyzes a chemical reaction. ... Figure 1: Ribosome structure indicating small subunit (A) and large subunit (B). ... A representation of the 3D structure of myoglobin, showing coloured alpha helices. ... Ribbon diagram of the enzyme TIM, surrounded by the space-filling model of the protein. ... In biology, mutations are changes to the genetic material (either DNA or RNA). ... The life cycle of an mRNA in a eukaryotic cell. ... A non-coding RNA (ncRNA) is any RNA molecule that functions without being translated into a protein. ... Transfer RNA (abbreviated tRNA) is a small RNA chain (74-93 nucleotides) that transfers a specific amino acid to a growing polypeptide chain at the ribosomal site of protein synthesis during translation. ...

Both RNA and DNA are macromolecules composed of nucleotides, of which there are four available in each molecule. Three nucleotides compose a codon, a sort of "genetic word", which is like an amino acid in a protein. The codon-amino acid translation is known as Translation (genetics). A nucleotide is an organic molecule consisting of a heterocyclic nucleobase (a purine or a pyrimidine), a pentose sugar (deoxyribose in DNA or ribose in RNA), and a phosphate or polyphosphate group. ... RNA codons. ... The general structure of an amino acid molecule, with the amine group on the left and the carboxyl group on the right. ... Translation is the second process of protein biosynthesis (part of the overall process of gene expression). ...

A codon is composed of three base pairs, one base normally always being attached to one of the other bases. In other words, two normal combinations, which means that DNA was the first binary code. Forty-eight base pairs are in human Deoxyribonucleic Acid, which allows for about 2^48 (281 474 976 710 656) combinations. What's more is that, unlike many other organisms, the base pairs for humans are of nearly equal proportions, which probably reduces the number of viable combinations to more like 2^47. RNA codons. ... In genetics, two nucleotides on opposite complementary DNA or RNA strands that are connected via hydrogen bonds are called a base pair (often abbreviated bp). ... For other articles with similar names, see DNA (disambiguation). ...

Genetisists have also come up with rules that would make DNA repeat itself in palindromes, a characteristic that, if it were a strict rule, would cut the exponent (the number of bits in the above numbers) in half, to less than 2^24 (16.7 million) viable combinations. A palindrome is a word, phrase, number or any other sequence of units (like a strand of DNA) which has the property of reading the same in either direction (the adjustment of spaces between letters is generally permitted). ...

  Results from FactBites:
Genetic Engineering - MSN Encarta (728 words)
Genetic engineering is used to increase plant and animal food production; to help dispose of industrial wastes; and to diagnose disease, improve medical treatment, and produce vaccines and other useful drugs.
Included in genetic engineering techniques are the selective breeding of plants and animals, hybridization (reproduction between different strains or species), and recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
In recent decades, genetic engineering has been revolutionized by a technique known as gene splicing, which scientists use to directly alter genetic material to form recombinant DNA.
Genetic Material | World of Biology (198 words)
Genetic material is the inheritable material of an organism.
Genetic material must be able to replicate information about itself to pass on to future generations.
In 1944, Oswald Avery showed that genetic material was carried in the nucleic acid of the cell.
  More results at FactBites »



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