Who say Slice I mean Splice

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Gene splicing is just what it sounds like: cutting the DNA of a gene to add base pairs. Contrary to the immediate image, however, no sharp instruments are involved; rather, everything is done chemically.

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Chemicals called restriction enzymes act as the scissors to cut the DNA. Thousands of varieties of restriction enzymes exist, each recognizing only a single nucleotide sequence. Once it finds that sequence in a strand of DNA, it attacks it and splits the base pairs apart, leaving single helix strands at the end of two double helixes. Scientists are then free to add any genetic sequences they wish into the broken chain and, afterwards, the chain is repaired (as a longer chain with the added DNA) with another enzyme called ligase. Hence, any form of genetic material can be spliced together; bacteria and chicken DNA can, and have been, combined. More often, though, splicing is used for important efforts such as the production of insulin and growth hormone to cure human maladies.With modern splicing techniques, enough insulin can be produced for all diabetics. The insulin-producing genes from human DNA are spliced into plasmid DNA; the plasmids are then allowed to infect bacteria, and, as the bacteria multiply, large amounts of harvestable insulin are produced. Splicing has other practical medicinal uses, too. In July of 1996, a 68-year-old woman became the first patient to be treated for arthritis (a disease which affects an estimated 2.1 million Americans) via gene therapy. At the University of Pittsburgh, therapeutic DNA that blocks the production of a specific protein (IL-1) that causes arthritis pain was injected into two of her knuckles.

reference;

“The Gene School,” Think Quest; accessed on April 13, 2013.http://library.thinkquest.org/19037/therapy2.html

Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids WTH are they

What Are Organic Molecules?
Organic molecules contain carbon-hydrogen bonds, are found in living things and can be very large molecules. The major classes of organic macromolecules are  carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids.
 What Are Nucleotides really?
Nucleotides are monomers (small molecules) that are the building blocks of nucleic acids. Each nucleotide, and consists of 3 portions:
-a pentose sugar called ribose
-one or more phosphate groups
-one of five cyclic nitrogenous bases
Some nucleotides are put together to form nucleic acid (DNA & RNA) macromolecules, whereas others function on their own. ​
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Nucleic Acid Structure
Nucleotides can be linked together by covalent bonds between the phosphate of one nucleotide and the sugar of next. These linked monomers become the phosphate-sugar backbone of nucleic acids. The nitrogenous bases extend out from this phosphate-sugar backbone like teeth of a comb.
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the genetic material, the original blueprint, inside each biological cell. The molecule is double-stranded and twisted, like a spiral staircase, with the two sugar-phosphate chains as the side rails, and the nitrogenous base pairs, linked by hydrogen bonds, forming the rungs. In addition to linking the bases together, hydrogen bonding twists the phosphate-sugar backbones into a helix, thus DNA is a double helix.There are four different types of nitrogenous bases that can be found in a DNA molecule: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and thymine (T). Adenine and guanine are larger, double ring nitrogenous bases called purines. Cytosine and thymine are smaller, single ring nitrogenous bases called pyrimidines. When bases pair up between the two DNA strands, a purine always pairs with a pyrimidine. Specifically adenine (A) and thymine (T) pair up, and cytosine (C) and guanine (G) pair up. These bases are attracted to each other through hydrogen bonding.When the DNA molecule is inactive, the bases are linked by these hydrogen bonds and the molecule is in its spiral-shaped state. When DNA is being used—either being copied (a process called replication) or being employed to build proteins (involving the processes of transcription and translation)—the DNA molecule must be opened up, essentially “unzipped” between the bases.
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Ribonucleic Acids (RNA)
In living organisms, RNA is a single stranded nucleic acid molecule. In viruses, non-living infectious particles, RNA can be single or double stranded.There are four different types of nitrogenous bases found in an RNA molecule: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and uracil (U). In RNA, uracil takes the place of the thymine found in DNA.
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When RNA bases are laid down to build an RNA molecule, DNA is unzipped, and the new RNA molecule made is compliment of the DNA template. For example, if the DNA strand has the following bases, in this order, ATTGCACT, the new RNA molecule being made will have the base sequence UAACGTGA. After the RNA segment is made, the DNA zips back up and the RNA floats off to carry out its function in the cell.Genetic information copied from DNA is used to build three types of RNA:
1) Ribosomal RNA – The Protein Factories: Most of the RNA in cells is part of the structure of small cellular organelles known as ribosomes, the protein factories of the cells.
2) Messenger RNA – The Genetic Blueprint: Messenger RNA is a copy of the genetic information that was transcribed from the cell’s original blueprint, DNA. This copy of the genetic information is brought to the ribosome and used as instructions for building proteins.
3) Transfer RNA – The Amino Acid Suppliers: Transfer RNA is also part of the process of building proteins. Like a little truck, tRNA brings the amino acid to the ribosome. Which amino acid it brings depends on which was coded for in the mRNA instructions. At the ribosome, these amino acids are joined together to form proteins.
ATP: The Energy Transfer Molecule
Adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) is a multifunctional nucleotide, most important as the “molecular currency” of intracellular energy transfer. Like tiny rechargeable batteries, ATP molecules transport chemical energy within a biological cell. These molecules can move energy around because the phosphate bonds contain a lot of potential energy, which is released when they are broken.During photosynthesis and cellular respiration, ATP is produced from ADP (adenosine diphosphate), an inorganic phosphate and added energy. ATP energy is consumed by a multitude of cellular processes.
 Chemical Structure of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate
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reference:
“What are Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids,” Science Prof Online; accessed on April 13, 2013.http://www.scienceprofonline.org/chemistry/nucleotides-nucleic-acids-atp-rna-dna.html

The universe is full of life! Discoveries Suggest Icy Cosmic Start for Amino Acids and DNA Ingredients

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Using new technology at the telescope and in laboratories, researchers have discovered an important pair of prebiotic molecules in interstellar space. The discoveries indicate that some basic chemicals that are key steps on the way to life may have formed on dusty ice grains floating between the stars. The scientists used the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia to study a giant cloud of gas some 25,000 light-years from Earth, near the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. The chemicals they found in that cloud include a molecule thought to be a precursor to a key component of DNA and another that may have a role in the formation of the amino acid alanine.One of the newly-discovered molecules, called cyanomethanimine, is one step in the process that chemists believe produces adenine, one of the four nucleobases that form the “rungs” in the ladder-like structure of DNA.

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The other molecule, called ethanamine, is thought to play a role in forming alanine, one of the twenty amino acids in the genetic code. “Finding these molecules in an interstellar gas cloud means that important building blocks for DNA and amino acids can ‘seed’ newly-formed planets with the chemical precursors for life,” said Anthony Remijan, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).In each case, the newly-discovered interstellar molecules are intermediate stages in multi-step chemical processes leading to the final biological molecule. Details of the processes remain unclear, but the discoveries give new insight on where these processes occur.Previously, scientists thought such processes took place in the very tenuous gas between the stars. The new discoveries, however, suggest that the chemical formation sequences for these molecules occurred not in gas, but on the surfaces of ice grains in interstellar space. “We need to do further experiments to better understand how these reactions work, but it could be that some of the first key steps toward biological chemicals occurred on tiny ice grains,” Remijan said.The discoveries were made possible by new technology that speeds the process of identifying the “fingerprints” of cosmic chemicals. Each molecule has a specific set of rotational states that it can assume. When it changes from one state to another, a specific amount of energy is either emitted or absorbed, often as radio waves at specific frequencies that can be observed with the GBT.New laboratory techniques have allowed astrochemists to measure the characteristic patterns of such radio frequencies for specific molecules. Armed with that information, they then can match that pattern with the data received by the telescope. Laboratories at the University of Virginia and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics measured radio emission from cyanomethanimine and ethanamine, and the frequency patterns from those molecules then were matched to publicly-available data produced by a survey done with the GBT from 2008 to 2011.A team of undergraduate students participating in a special summer research program for minority students at the University of Virginia (U.Va.) conducted some of the experiments leading to the discovery of cyanomethanimine. The students worked under U.Va. professors Brooks Pate and Ed Murphy, and Remijan. The program, funded by the National Science Foundation, brought students from four universities for summer research experiences. They worked in Pate’s astrochemistry laboratory, as well as with the GBT data.”This is a pretty special discovery and proves that early-career students can do remarkable research,” Pate said.The researchers are reporting their findings in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. News from: The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

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referenced:

Good News. 2013. The universe is full of life! Discoveries Suggest Icy Cosmic Start for Amino Acids and DNA Ingredients. http://goodnews.ws/blog/2013/03/04/the-universe-is-full-of-life-discoveries-suggest-icy-cosmic-start-for-amino-acids-and-dna-ingredients/