Introduction to Molecular Genetics and Recombinant DNA Technology
The basic repositories of biological information flow, called genes, consist of molecules of DNA. Molecular biologists attempt to understand the molecular basis for the flow and regulation of genetic information by using recombinant DNA methods to isolate and analyze genes. The ability of molecular biology to examine genes directly is revolutionizing the study of virtually all biological systems, including many areas relevant to transfusion medicine. This communication attempts to introduce the basic concepts of this field. For nearly two decades after the elucidation of the crystallographic structure of DNA, molecular geneticists were largely confined to the study of simple microorganisms. Complex genomes were beyond the capability of the limited repertoire of methods available for manipulating DNA molecules until a new approach, recombinant DNA technology, arose in the 1970’s. Recombinant DNA methods combine advances in enzymology, nucleic acid biochemistry, and microbial genetics in ways that allow one to ‘cut and paste’ DNA molecules from diverse sources together to form novel DNA molecules and to introduce this DNA into new host cells, where it can be propagated and expressed. These capabilities permit one to physically isolate or ‘clone’ individual genes even if they originally represent only one part per million or less of a complex genome.
KeywordsMolecular Hybridization Sugar Phosphate Backbone Double Stranded Helix Strand Coil Single Stranded cDNA Template
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