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The Wonder Why You Inherited Your Momís Smile but Not Your Dadís Height !

by Medindia Content Team on October 18, 2007 at 7:36 PM
The Wonder Why You Inherited Your Momís Smile but Not Your Dadís Height !

The researchers mapped the 3 dimensional structure of an enzyme responsible for splitting DNA strands - a process at the heart of human individuality.

Using X-ray crystallography techniques, T7 endonuclease 1 enzyme's structure was discovered.

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The enzyme is derived from a bacteriophage - a naturally occurring virus-like agent that attacks bacteria - but the molecular processes are expected to be similar in other organisms, including humans.

"Whilst the enzyme was known to play a central role, its physical structure, which is crucial to understanding the splitting process, has never been seen before. We've now got a 3D picture of it at work, and seen it at the point at which it is about to cut through the DNA strands. This is a major breakthrough in investigating the fundamental mechanisms at work behind the formation of a person's DNA and how viruses replicate their DNA in the body," Professor Simon Phillips said.
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In humans, this process starts at conception when maternal and paternal DNA strands join together at random points in their sequence. Enzymes such as T7 endonuclease 1 are then responsible for severing the strands at this junction, thus creating a third, unique DNA sequence for the offspring.

However, Professor Phillips said that it would be some time before this process can be observed in humans.

"It's too important a discovery to rush. Our next step is to examine the process in a more complex system than bacteriophage, such as yeast," he said

Source: ANI
SPH /J
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