All About DNA Repair

All About DNA Repair

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is found in almost every cell of the body and is the genetic material that is essential for maintaining, building and repairing an organism. Your DNA looks like a twisted ladder, made up of two strands. During cell regeneration, DNA is replicated and passed to the new cell. This is very important as it passes on information regarding a persons heritage. Studying a persons DNA can determine if there are any risk factors for disease. Also if they are a carrier of genetic mutations, this can be discovered in their DNA.

There are four basic building blocks that are contained in DNA – adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine. During replication these building blocks must be paired correctly. If they are not, there will be implications that alter and change the DNA.

Every day we are exposed to so many elements that have an impact on DNA within our cells. These changes are brought on by radiation, pollution, metabolic changes, and exposure to substances in the environment.

There are mechanisms for DNA repair in place that help maintain genetic stability which is needed if an organism is to survive. Most importantly the replication of DNA needs to be extremely accurate as does having mechanisms in place for repairing the accidental lesions that DNA continually suffer.
DNA repair is a set of processes that are in place so that when there are changes to DNA, there is immediate correction. Because of this any changes to DNA are usually temporary.

Enzymes that carry out DNA repair are created by the cell itself. These enzymes are called DNA ligase.
DNA repair enzymes are enzymes that recognize and correct physical damage in DNA, caused by exposure to radiation, UV light or reactive oxygen species. The correction of DNA damage alleviates loss of genetic information, generation of double-strand breaks, and DNA cross linkages.

These enzymes have the ability to recognise damage to DNA and then they have the ability to correct the damage. As I have mentioned the structure of DNA is a double helix, each has a separate copy of genetic information.. This creates an ideal situation for repair. If one strand is damaged the other strand contains the same copy of information which is used to restore the correct nucleotide sequence to the damaged strand.

During repair the enzyme encircles the double helix and repairs any damaged to the helix strands.

If the damage to DNA is left uncorrected when it is replicated during cell regeneration, there would be mutation or deletion of one or more base pairs in the daughter DNA chain. These DNA changes in the sequence would have disastrous consequences.

You can learn more about DNA and cell replication in my courses.

Yours in skin,

Gay Wardle

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