DNA, no matter how short the acronym sounds, is a vast topic that requires serious dedication of time and energy before one can really grasp what it is and how it affects the life within and around us.
This article sets the foundations for a series of articles in which we will cover various aspects of DNA, the concepts, the technology and its applications. Right now, without going into the peculiar details, we are only going to briefly introduce these topics. You can think of it as a short glossary for DNA terminology.
Learning about DNA definitely starts with a sound knowledge of what is it made up of and how these chemicals interact with each other to form a structure that builds a DNA molecule. You have to look carefully at what essential functions DNA performs in the cell that it is located in, by the way itís present in each cell of human as well as body of living organisms.
In most basic terms, DNA is the master plan of life that works all the way from inception to growth. It holds all of the hereditary information and passes it from generation to generation.
Once you have encountered the double helix structure of DNA, as proposed by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953, you should move on to advance topics like DNA replication. DNA replication tells us that each DNA is able to produce an exact copy of itself and this is made possible with the help of DNA polymerase, an enzyme that takes an active role in the process. Youíll also come across DNA synthesis, which is an artificial technique to produce copies of DNA and is based on the concept of DNA replication.
While DNA holds all of the information required for the cell to perform its actions and produce the essential proteins, it is important to note that DNA doesnít interfere directly with the elements of cytoplasm outside the cell nucleus and disseminates this useful information through a messenger RNA. This is done through a process called DNA transcription.
The buzz words that have really boosted the popularity of DNA among the masses are DNA cloning and DNA testing. Who has not heard of Dolly, the first ever cloned animal? And DNA testing, owing to a large number of social, commercial and forensic uses, has drawn the attention towards further studies and research in DNA.