By Stephen Nowicki
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DNA is a relatively fragile molecule, and a number of physical and chemical agents can break, modify, or otherwise damage the strand. 1. Ultraviolet (UV) light, X-rays, or other kinds of radiation are absorbed by nucleotides and may cause chemical bonds to break. This bond breakage can damage bases or base pairs or break apart entire DNA molecules. 2. Reactive chemicals (such as aflatoxin, free radicals, and chemicals found in tobacco smoke) can also break chemical bonds in DNA. B. By one estimate, the DNA in a single human cell may be damaged in one or more of these ways a thousand times per day.
1. Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins, working at Kings College in London, were able produce well-resolved x-ray crystallographs of very pure crystallized DNA. 2. They were not, however, able to fully deduce the threedimensional structure of DNA from the clues provided by their own crystallographs. D. Another source of insight came from the work of Erwin Chargaff, who performed biochemical analyses of the relative amounts of different nitrogenous bases in samples of DNA from many species. 1.
Each addition or deletion offset the code by one unit, essentially turning it into meaningless gibberish. 3. Crick and his partners found that the deletion or addition of three base pairs brought the code back into register, similar to deleting a word in a sentence made of three-letter words. IV. The genetic code is a triplet code, with unique combinations of three nucleotide bases referred to as codons. Many experiments have verified this conclusion, but how did molecular biologists eventually discover which codons specified which amino acids?
Biology - The Science of Life by Stephen Nowicki