The Dna Replication Process Essay

1447 words - 6 pages

All living things on earth are made up of cells that contain DNA. Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA is the genetic material of living things that can be found in the nucleus of the cells (Alcamo, 1996). It contains the genes and the genetic codes that contain the information that are essential for life’s functions which are passed from generations to generations. DNA composes of two polynucleotide chains twisted around each other in the form of a double helix. According to Alcamo (1996), each strand of the DNA double helix can act as a template for the synthesis of a new complementary strand as it contains a sequence of nucleotides that is exactly complementary to the nucleotide sequence of its partner strand. DNA replication is semi-conservative. Thus, two identical molecules of DNA are formed during DNA replication of one helix of DNA. Each new molecule of DNA contains one strand of parental DNA which is from the original helix and one strand of new DNA when DNA molecule is copied. DNA replication is a process that all cells must go through and occur before cell division (Corazon, 2010). There are several steps involve during DNA replication which are initiation, elongation, termination and proofreading and correction (refer to Figure 1 in Appendix 1).
Firstly, the process of DNA replication starts with initiation. The initiation refers to the process of unwinding of the DNA double helix. It occurs in the specific area of a chromosome known as the origins that contain a series of codes that attract helicase (Corazon, 2010). Bryant and Aves (2011) stated that “the initiation of DNA replication is important and highly regulated process in the cell division cycle” (p. 1119). In the process of DNA replication, some enzymes are involved such as DNA polymerase and DNA helicase that play important role of DNA synthesis but its activity is modulated by interactions with numerous other proteins (Moses & Summers, 1988). It is of interest to compare different groups of eukaryotic organisms. At this site, which look like little bubbles, hydrogen bonds between complementary bases pairs are broken and separated in an energy-dependent manner by an enzyme known as helicase (Bank, n.d.). Meanwhile, other proteins quickly prevent the single DNA strand from rejoining during unwinding the DNA double helix. Once the replication bubble has been opened, molecules of an enzyme called DNA polymerase insert themselves into the space between the two strands. Then, the helix begins to pull apart or unwind.
The unwinding of the helix is facilitated by an enzyme helicase, which is part of the replication complex in a group of enzymes and other proteins that take care of the replication process. There are two replication complexes at each origin of replication in these sites. After that, the unwinding continues, they move in opposite directions creating two Y- shaped replication forks. The DNA replication occurs at the replication forks and it will proceed in both directions away...

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