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Mechanisms of Genetic Recombination in Nature

1. Transformation, conjugation, and transduction were discovered in the laboratory. How important are these mechanisms of genetic recombination in nature?
2. What is the process of DNA fingerprinting, and how is electrophoresis used in criminal forensics?
3. How can plasmids be used to manufacture proteins such as insulin for diabetic patients, or antibiotics for bacterial infections?
4. Research a genetic disease that may be cured through the use of genetic engineering. What techniques are being explored to correct the problem? How do concerns of designer embryos stem from this technology?
5. How can DNA be fragmented into very specific sections?
6. Where do restriction enzymes come from? What is their function in nature?
7. How do molecules of varying sizes separate in electrophoresis? What is the purpose of the gel? What about the electricity?
8. Investigate one way in which electrophoresis is used in medicine today.
9. Why is electrical current necessary to separate molecules using electrophoresis?
10. Why is agarose an appropriate medium to use for separating molecules? Research another type of gel and provide a brief explanation regarding why it could be used rather than an agarose gel.
11. How is electrophoresis similar to, and different from chromatography?

Solution Preview

1. Transformation, conjugation and transduction are extremely important in nature because these processes support evolution. Some bacteria are naturally competent and pick up DNA from the environment resulting in their transformation into a cell capable of additional functions. A very common example is bacteria becoming resistant by picking up a new resistance marker. Similarly, conjugation allows bacteria to transfer genetic information. This transfer can result in the receiving cell obtaining additional genes that were not present before the process. Finally, during transduction, viral vectors can transfer pieces of DNA to a cell that were picked up earlier from another cell. Thus, all three processes allowing mixing of genetic information between bacteria and aid their evolution.

2. DNA fingerprinting involves analyzing stretches of DNA that have high variability between individuals. Because of this variation in bases and length, there are differences in the rate of migration of DNA from different individuals during gel electrophoresis. Furthermore, the base differences can also ...

Solution Summary

The mechanisms of genetic recombination in nature are examined. How DNA can be fragmented into very specific sections are determined.