DNA, RNA and Proteins. Ms. Hughes. DNA Genetic Material. Mendel showed that traits are passed from parent to offspring. Instructions for how genes are inherited. Genes are made up of segments of DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid.
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DNA replication: the process of making a copy of DNA.
In DNA replication, the DNA molecule unwinds, and the two sides split. Then new nucleotides are added to each side until two identical sequences result. DNA replication occurs before a cell divides so that each cell has a complete copy of DNA. The basic steps of DNA are:
Proteins called DNA polymerases catalyze the formation of the DNA molecule.
The polymerases add nucleotides that pair with each base to form two new double helixes.
DNA polymerases also have a “proofreading” function. During DNA replication, errors sometimes occur, and the wrong nucleotide is added to the new strand. DNA polymerase cannot add another nucleotide unless the previous nucleotide is correctly paired.
While prokaryotes have a single chromosome/loop, eukaryotic cells often have several chromosomes.
By starting DNA replication at many sites along the chromosome they can replicate their DNA faster than prokaryotes, two distinct replication forks form at each start site, and replication occurs in opposite directions.