113lecture1106 - BIOLOGY 113 MICROBIOLOGY Lecture 11...

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BIOLOGY 113 - MICROBIOLOGY Lecture 11: Microbial Genetics - Structure and function of genetic material, DNA replication Genetics, the science of heredity, focuses on how information determining the morphology, metabolism and physiology of organisms is maintained, expressed and transmitted Genetic information is maintained in the form of DNA - At the chemical level, DNA is a polymer of nucleotides, with nitrogenous bases attached to a sugar-phosphate backbone = The nitrogenous bases include adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C) and guanine (G) = The bases can form hydrogen-bonded base pairs, which are always A=T or G C = The DNA found in cells consists of two polynucleotide strands running in opposite directions (Tortora et al., Figure 2.17 on p. 50) · Each base on one strand forms a base pair with a base on the opposite strand · Because of this "complete" base pairing, the two strands are complementary to one another; if you know the sequence of bases on one strand, you can predict the sequence on the opposite strand from base-pairing rules · This complementarity is not just a coincidence; it is, in fact, the essence of reproduction - At the informational level, DNA is a sequence of "letters" encoding bits of genetic information, what we call genes, that determine the characteristics of an organism = Before a cell divides, this information is duplicated by the process of
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