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DNA Replication

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This tutorial will cover the process of DNA replication.  Remember, every time a cell divides - it must replicate its DNA. By the end of the tutorial you should have a basic understanding of:

  • When DNA replication takes place
  • Where DNA replication takes place
  • How DNA replication takes place
  • What happens if there is a mistake during DNA replication
Performance Objectives:
  • Compare and contrast the structures of DNA and RNA
  • Diagram the process of DNA replication, including all of the enzymes and molecules that are necessary
  • Understand the antiparallel structure of a DNA molecule and the implications this has for DNA replication
  • Explain the different DNA repair mechanisms and the different possible types of mutations

DNA Replication





This tutorial examined the process of DNA replication. This process is pivotal to life, so it will be important that you have a firm grasp on the basic aspects of DNA replication (i.e., to the level presented in this tutorial).

All cells that divide need to replicate their DNA so that each daughter cell contains a full complement of all the parent's genetic information. In the process of replication, the two strands are replicated with remarkable fidelity. To appreciate this process, keep a couple of things in mind. First, DNA is comprised of two antiparallel strands. The polarity of each strand is due to the manner in which the nucleotides are linked together. Second, DNA is synthesized in only one direction; 5' to 3'. Be sure that you understand that one strand is synthesized continuously, and that the other is synthesized discontinuously. Be sure that you understand why this is so, and be sure that you are familiar with the basic steps involved in this process.



After reading this tutorial, you should have a working knowledge of the following terms:

  • antiparallel
  • DNA polymerase
  • excision repair
  • helicase
  • lagging strand
  • leading strand
  • ligase
  • mistmatch repair
  • mutation
  • Okazaki fragment
  • origins of replication
  • primase
  • primer
  • replication fork
  • semiconservative replication
  • single-strand binding protein
  • template strand
  • terminator sequence