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4CutPaste - An Introduction to Bioinformatics Algorithms...

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Cutting and Pasting a DNA Sequence An Introduction to Bioinformatics Algorithms www.bioalgorithms.info
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Molecular Biology Laboratory Techniques : Cutting a DNA Sequence Cutting a DNA Sequence -- Restriction Enzymes DNA is a long molecule. In order to be able to sequence it piece by piece, a biological pair of scissors is needed. Around 1973, Smith et. Al. made a startling discovery in the course of their study of defense mechanism of bacterial cells from viral attack. Observation: certain bacteria produced enzymes that can cut or break a double stranded DNA at specific points. These proteins, called restriction enzymes can catalyze the hydrolysis of DNA (the process of breaking a molecule by adding water) at specific points called restriction sites that are determined by a specific sequence of base pair.
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The first such enzyme discovered called EcoRI could cleave or digest DNA molecules between G and A whenever it encountered the sequence 5’ - GAATTC- 3’ . Note that the sequence is its own reverse complement, i.e., if you read the single strand in the 3’ - 5’ direction, you get the same sequence GAATTC. Such reverse complement sequences are called palindromes . So, whenever such a sequence appears in one strand, it also
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