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Chapter 23 : The Central Role of DNA: New Vistas in Microbial Biotechnology

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The Central Role of DNA: New Vistas in Microbial Biotechnology, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

This chapter talks about how DNA performs its important role and how it can be used for genetic engineering. Some understanding of DNA structure is essential for even an elementary appreciation of the exquisite mechanisms involved in gene action. DNA is a large macromolecule composed of three kinds of chemical units that are arranged in a very specific manner. Two of these units provide the backbone of DNA in the form of a two-stranded helix, in which two coiled fibers are connected. The two backbones of DNA are held together by pairs of nucleic acid bases. These bases represent the third kind of unit in DNA and consist of four types of small nitrogen-containing molecules that have distinctive chemical properties: adenine (A), thymine (T), guanosine (G), and cytosine (C). The identification of DNA as the genetic material in 19443 and the rapid development of bacterial genetics starting about 1950 were the beginnings of a great new wave of discoveries that opened unexpected vistas in microbial biotechnology. There is general agreement that recombinant DNA technology is capable of producing many new and useful drugs, industrial solvents, fertilizers, and so on. Determination of the complete genome sequences of many different kinds of microbes has another important purpose, namely, to aid in analysis of the course of evolution of life on Earth. Detailed comparisons of the DNA base sequences in microbes of diverse physiological capabilities are certain to reveal much about their evolutionary relationships.

Citation: Gest H. 2003. The Central Role of DNA: New Vistas in Microbial Biotechnology, p 150-168. In Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817855.ch23
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Figures

Image of Figure 36
Figure 36

Schematic representation of the DNA double helix. The helical strands are composed of alternating units of phosphate and the five-carbon sugar deoxyribose. The “rungs” represent chemical bonds between pairs of nitrogen-containing nucleic acid bases that extend toward the axis of the helix (which is indicated by the dashed line).

Citation: Gest H. 2003. The Central Role of DNA: New Vistas in Microbial Biotechnology, p 150-168. In Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817855.ch23
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Image of Figure 37
Figure 37

Diagram of a portion of a DNA molecule (uncoiled and flattened). The “uprights” of the molecule's ladder-like structure are strands composed of alternating deoxyribose units (pentagons) and phosphate groups (black dots). The “cross-rungs” of the ladder are composed of pairs of complementary nucleic acid bases, each pair linked by a chemical bond.

Citation: Gest H. 2003. The Central Role of DNA: New Vistas in Microbial Biotechnology, p 150-168. In Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817855.ch23
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Citation: Gest H. 2003. The Central Role of DNA: New Vistas in Microbial Biotechnology, p 150-168. In Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817855.ch23
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Citation: Gest H. 2003. The Central Role of DNA: New Vistas in Microbial Biotechnology, p 150-168. In Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817855.ch23
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Image of Figure 38
Figure 38

Conjugation between F+ and F cells. In this diagram, only a few genes (A, B, C, D, and E) of the bacterial chromosome are indicated. The F+ cell contains normal DNA; the F cell contains two damaged genes, “b” and “d.” In the center section, the chromosome from the F+ cell is seen threading into the F cell through a conjugation bridge. After the plasmid carrying normal genes A, B, and C has entered the cell, it is incorporated into the F cell's chromosome and replaces the damaged genes with normal ones. The recipient cell is now an F+ genetic recombinant. If genes B and D happened to be genes controlling production of two particular vitamins, the recombinant cell, previously deficient, would have acquired the ability to make the vitamins.

Citation: Gest H. 2003. The Central Role of DNA: New Vistas in Microbial Biotechnology, p 150-168. In Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817855.ch23
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Image of Figure 39a
Figure 39a

Citation: Gest H. 2003. The Central Role of DNA: New Vistas in Microbial Biotechnology, p 150-168. In Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817855.ch23
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Image of Figure 39b
Figure 39b

Citation: Gest H. 2003. The Central Role of DNA: New Vistas in Microbial Biotechnology, p 150-168. In Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817855.ch23
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Image of Figure 40
Figure 40

DNA fingerprinting of strains of Campylobacter jejuni, a bacterium that occurs in poultry and other animals and can cause food poisoning. Lane 7 contains standardized markers for comparison.

Citation: Gest H. 2003. The Central Role of DNA: New Vistas in Microbial Biotechnology, p 150-168. In Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817855.ch23
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