Medical research

Speedy antibiotic susceptibility tests for high-priority pathogens

At the core of the antibiotic-resistance crisis is the lack of a rapid and general antibiotic susceptibility test (AST) that can assess the infecting pathogen's sensitivity to antibiotics and thus inform treatment decisions ...

Medical research

Finding the weak points of cancer cells

The key to effective cures for cancers is to find weak points of cancer cells that are not found in non-cancer cells. Researchers at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science found that cancerous and non-cancerous ...

Oncology & Cancer

The origin of genetic mutations in cancer

When a cell divides into two daughter cells, it must replicate its DNA according to a very specific scenario. In the presence of some disruptive elements, however, cancer cells are unable to perform this operation optimally; ...

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DNA replication

DNA replication, the basis for biological inheritance, is a fundamental process occurring in all living organisms to copy their DNA. This process is "semiconservative" in that each strand of the original double-stranded DNA molecule serves as template for the reproduction of the complementary strand. Hence, following DNA replication, two identical DNA molecules have been produced from a single double-stranded DNA molecule. Cellular proofreading and error-checking mechanisms ensure near perfect fidelity for DNA replication.

In a cell, DNA replication begins at specific locations in the genome, called "origins". Unwinding of DNA at the origin, and synthesis of new strands, forms a replication fork. In addition to DNA polymerase, the enzyme that synthesizes the new DNA by adding nucleotides matched to the template strand, a number of other proteins are associated with the fork and assist in the initiation and continuation of DNA synthesis.

DNA replication can also be performed in vitro (outside a cell). DNA polymerases, isolated from cells, and artificial DNA primers are used to initiate DNA synthesis at known sequences in a template molecule. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a common laboratory technique, employs such artificial synthesis in a cyclic manner to amplify a specific target DNA fragment from a pool of DNA.

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