Chapter 20 - DNA Tools and Biotechnology Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 20 - DNA Tools and Biotechnology Deck (50):

What is biotechnology?

The manipulation of organisms or their components to make useful products


What do the applications of DNA technology affect?

Everything from agriculture, to criminal law, to medical research


What is nucleic acid hybridization?

The base pairing of one strand of a nucleic acid to the complementary sequence on a strand from another nucleic acid molecule


What is genetic engineering?

The direct manipulation of genes for practical purposes


What is DNA sequencing?

Researchers can exploit the principle of complementary base pairing to determine the complete nucleotide sequence of a DNA molecule; the DNA is first cut into fragments, and then each fragment is sequenced


What was the first automated procedure of DNA sequencing?

Dideoxy (chain terminating sequencing); one strand of DNA fragment is used as a template for synthesis of a nested set of complementary fragments; these are further analyzed to yield the sequence

*Frederick Sanger received the Nobel Prize in 1980 for developing this method


What is DNA cloning?

To work directly with specific genes, scientists prepare well defined DNA segments in multiple identical copies


What are plasmids?

Small circular DNA molecules that replicate separately from the bacterial chromosome


What is recombinant DNA?

Researchers insert DNA into plasmids to produce recombinant DNA; a molecule containing DNA from two different sources, very often different species

Reproductions of a recombinant plasmid in a bacterial cell results in cloning of the plasmid, including the foreign DNA; this results in the production of multiple copies of a single gene


What is gene cloning?

The production of multiple copies of a single gene is a type of DNA cloning; gene cloning is useful for amplifying genes to produce a protein product for research, medical, or other purposes


What is a cloning vector?

A plasmid used to clone a foreign gene; a DNA molecule that can carry foreign DNA into a host cell and replicate there

Bacterial plasmids are widely used as cloning vectors because they are readily obtained, easily manipulated, easily introduced into bacterial cells, and once in the bacteria they multiply rapidly


What are restriction enzymes?

Restriction endonucleases; protect the bacterial cell by cutting up foreign DNA from other organisms of phages

Restriction enzymes cut DNA molecules at specific DNA sequences called restriction sites; each restriction enzyme is very specific, recognizing a restriction site and cutting both DNA strands at precise points within this restriction site


What are restriction sites?

A particular short DNA sequence


What are restriction fragments?

A restriction enzyme will make many cuts in such a DNA molecule, yielding many restriction fragments


What are sticky ends?

The most useful restriction enzymes cut DNA in a staggered way, producing fragments with "sticky ends"; these "sticky ends" can bond with complementary sticky ends of other fragments

These short extensions can form hydrogen-bonded base pairs with complementary sticky ends on any other DNA molecules cut with the same enzyme


What is DNA ligase?

An enzyme that catalyzes the formation of covalent bonds that close up the sugar phosphate backbones of DNA strands; seals the bonds


What is gel electrophoresis?

A technique that uses a gel made of a polymer as a molecular sieve to separate out a mixture of nucleic acids (or proteins) on the basis of size, electrical charge, and other physical properties


What is the polymerase chain reaction?

PCR; can produce many copies of a specific target segment of DNA

A three step cycle; brings about a chain reaction that produces an exponentially growing population of identical DNA molecules

1. Denaturation (heating) - heat briefly to separate DNA strands
2. Annealing (cooling) - cool to allow primers to form hydrogen bonds with ends of target sequence
3. Extension (replication) - DNA polymerase adds nucleotides to the 3' end of each primer

*The key to PCR is an unusual, heat stable DNA polymerase called Taq polymerase; PCR uses a pair of primers specific for the sequence to be amplified; PCR amplification occasionally incorporates errors into the amplified strands and so cannot substitute for gene cloning in cells

PCR primers can be designed to include restriction sites that allow the product to be cloned into plasmid vectors; the resulting clones are sequenced anderror-free inserts selected


Once a gene has been cloned in host cells, how is its protein product expressed?

Once a gene has been cloned in host cells, its protein product can be expressed in large amounts for research or for practical applications; cloned genes can be expressed in either bacterial or eukaryotic cells


What is an expression vector?

To overcome differences in promoters and other DNA control sequences, scientists usually employ an expression vector; a cloning vector that contains a highly active bacterial promoter just upstream of a restriction site where the eukaryotic gene can be inserted in the correct reading frame; the bacterial host cell will recognize the promoter and proceed to express the foreign gene now linked to that promoter; such expression vectors allow the synthesis of many eukaryotic proteins in bacterial cells


What is a second difficulty with eukaryotic gene expression in bacteria?

The presence of noncoding regions in most eukaryotic genes; introns can make a eukaryotic gene very long and they prevent correct expression of the gene by bacterial cells, which do not have RNA splicing machinery; researchers can avoid this problem by using cDNA, complementary to the mRNA, which contains only exons


What is one way molecular biologists can avoid eukaryotic bacterial incompatibility?

By using eukaryotic cells such as yeasts, rather than bacteria, as hosts for cloning and expressing eukaryotic genes of interest;

Yeasts, single-celled fungi, offer two advantages;
1. Easy to grow as bacteria
2. Contain plasmids


Some yeasts may not possess the proteins required to modify expressed mammalian proteins properly. What is done in such cases?

In such cases, cultured mammalian or insect cells may be used to express and study proteins


What is electroporation?

A method of introducing recombinant DNA into eukaryotic cells; done by applying a brief electrical pulse to a solution containing cells, which creates temporary holes in their plasma membranes through which DNA can enter

Alternatively, scientists can inject DNA into cells using microscopically thin needles; once inside the cell, the DNA is incorporated into the cell’s DNA by natural genetic recombination


What is a nucleic acid probe?

The complementary molecule, a short, single stranded nucleic acid that can be either RNA or DNA


What is in situ hybridization?

In situ hybridization uses fluorescent dyes attached to probes to identify the location of specific mRNAs in place in the intact organism


What is RT-PCR?

Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction; useful for comparing amounts of specific mRNAs in several samples at the same time

The products are run on a gel and the mRNA of interest is identified


What is complementary DNA?

Reverse transcriptase is added to mRNA to make complementary DNA (cDNA), which serves as a template for PCR amplification of the gene of interest

Made from mRNA, cDNA lacks introns and can be used for protein expression in bacteria


What are the steps to making complementary DNA from eukaryotic genes?

cDNA is made in vitro using mRNA as a template for the first strand; the mRNA contains only exons, so the resulting double stranded cDNA caries the continuous coding sequence of the gene

1. Reverse transcriptase is added to a test tube containing mRNA isolated from a sample of cells
2. Reverse transcriptase makes the first DNA strand using the mRNA as a template and a short poly-dT as a DNA primer
3. mRNA is degraded by another enzyme
4. DNA polymerase synthesizes the second DNA strand, using a primer in the reaction mixture
5. The result is cDNA, which carries the complete coding sequence of the gene by no introns


What are the steps of RT-PCR?

RT-PCR uses the enzyme reverse transcriptase (RT) in combination with PCR and gel electrophoresis; RT-PCR can be used to compare gene expression between samples

1. cDNA synthesis - carried out by incubating the mRNAs with reverse transcriptase and other necessary components
2. PCR amplification - uses primers specific to the gene of interest
3. Gel electrophoresis - will reveal amplified DNA products only in samples that contained mRNA transcribed from the specific gene


What are DNA microarray assays?

Genome-wide expression studies can be carried out using DNA microarray assays; compare patterns of gene expression in different tissues, at different times, or under different conditions

A DNA microarray consists of tiny amounts of a large number of single stranded DNA fragments representing different genes fixed to a glass slide in a lightly spaced array, or grid; ideally, these fragments represent all the genes of an organism

*By uncovering gene interactions and clues to gene function DNA microarray assays may contribute to understanding of disease and suggest new diagnostic targets


What is RNA sequencing?

RNA-seq; with rapid and inexpensive sequencing methods available, researchers can also just sequence cDNA samples from different tissues to determine the gene expression differences between them


What is in vitro mutagenesis?

An approach that disables the gene and then observes the consequences in the cell or organism; specific mutations are introduced into a cloned gene, and the mutated gene is returned to a cell in such a way that it disables the normal cellular copies of the same gene; if the introduced mutations alter or destroy the function of the gene product, the phenotype of the mutant cell may help reveal the function of the missing normal protein


What is RNA interference?

RNAi; An experimental approach that uses synthetic double-stranded RNA molecules matching the sequence of a particular gene to trigger breakdown of the gene's messenger RNA or to block its translation


What are genome wide association studies?

Large-scale analyses where researchers test for genetic markers, DNA sequences that vary in the population

Researchers analyze the genomes of many people with a certain genetic condition to try to find nucleotide changes specific to the condition


What is a single nucleotide polymorphism?

SNP; A single base pair site where variation is found in at least 1% of the population

- SNP variants that are found frequently associated with a particular inherited disorder alert researchers to the most likely location for the disease-causing gene
- SNPs are rarely directly involved in the disease; they are most often in noncoding regions of the genome


What is organismal cloning?

Organismal cloning produces one or more organisms genetically identical to the “parent” that donated the single cell


What is a stem cell?

A relatively unspecialized cell that can both reproduce itself indefinitely and, under appropriate conditions, differentiate into specialized cells of one or more types


What is totipotent?

Describing a cell that can give rise to all parts of the embryo and adult, as well as extra-embryonic membranes in species that have them


What is nuclear transplantation?

Removing the nucleus of an unfertilized or fertilized egg and replacing it with the nucleus of a differentiated cell; if the nucleus from the differentiated donor cell retains its full genetic capability, then it should be able to direct development of the recipient cell into all the tissues and organs of an organism


What is pluripotent?

Stem cells that are capable of differentiating into many different cell types


What is therapeutic cloning?

A process of cloning where the main aim is to produce ES cells to treat disease


Discuss the differences between embryonic and adult stem cells.

- Many early embryos contain stem cells capableof giving rise to differentiated embryonic cells ofany type
- In culture, these embryonic stem cells reproduce indefinitely; depending on culture conditions, they can be made to differentiate into a variety of specialized cells
- Adult stem cells can generate multiple (but not all) cell types and are used in the body to replace nonreproducingcells as needed


What are induced pluripotent stem cells?

iPS cells;

- Researchers can treat differentiated cells, and reprogram them to act like ES cells
- Researchers used retroviruses to induce extra copies of four stem cell master regulatory genes to produce induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells
- iPS cells can perform most of the functions ofES cells
- iPS cells can be used as models for study of certain diseases and potentially as replacement cells for patients


Discuss the practical applications for DNA based biotechnology.

- Many fields benefit from DNA technology and genetic engineering
- Identification of human genes in which mutation plays a role in genetic diseases; use of microarray assays or other tools to identify genes turned on or off in particular diseases
- The genes and their products are then potential targets for prevention or therapy
- Scientists can diagnose many human genetic disorders using PCR and sequence-specific primers, then sequencing the amplified product to look for the disease-causing mutation
- SNPs may be associated with a disease causing mutation
- SNPs may also be correlated with increased risks for conditions such as heart disease or certain types of cancer


What is gene therapy?

The introduction of genes into an afflicted individual for therapeutic purposes; holds great potential for treating the relatively small number of disorders traceable to a single defective gene

- Vectors are used for delivery of genes into specific types of cells, for example bone marrow
- In theory, a normal allele of the defective gene could be inserted into the somatic cells of the tissue affected by the disorder


Discuss protein production in cell cultures.

Host cells in culture can be engineered to secrete a protein as it is made, simplifying the task of purifying it; this is useful for the production of insulin, human growth hormones, and vaccines


What are transgenic animals?

Made by introducing genes from one species into the genome of another animal; transgenic animals are pharmaceutical “factories,” producers of large amounts of otherwise rare substances for medical use


What is a genetic profile?

An individuals unique DNA sequence or set of genetic markers


What are short tandem repeats?

STRs; genetic profiles are currently analyzed using genetic markers called short tandem repeats (STRs); these are tandemly repeated units of two to five nucleotide sequences in specific regions of the genome;

- STRs are variations in the number of repeats of specific DNA sequences
- PCR and gel electrophoresis are used to amplify and then identify STRs of different lengths
- The probability that two people who are not identical twins have the same STR markers is exceptionally small