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Methods of introducing DNA

Related Terms

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Background

  • Genes: Genes are made of deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA) sequences, and are considered the building blocks of life because they provide instructions for all of the cells in the body. Genes, which are located inside the cells, control the development and function of an organism by instructing cells to make proteins and other nucleic acids. These gene products then perform all the tasks that make the cell function.
  • DNA is a double-stranded chain of nucleotides that is wound up in a spiral (helix). Thus, DNA is often called a "double helix." Nucleotides are the building blocks of DNA and are made of nitrogen bases, sugars (deoxyribose), and phosphate. Nitrogen bases are of two types in DNA: purines, such as adenine (A) and guanine (G), and pyrimidines, such as cytosine (C) and thymine (T). The sequence of bases in DNA contains the genetic code, or hereditary information.
  • While DNA contains the instructions for making proteins, these instructions must be first "transcribed" into ribonucleic acid (RNA) before they are made into proteins. RNA is a single-stranded nucleic acid that is read by the cell's protein-making machinery. The RNA is made of nitrogen bases, sugars (ribose), and phosphate. The nitrogen bases in RNA are made of purines, such as adenine (A) and guanine (G), and pyrimidines, such as cytosine (C) and uracil (U). RNAs that carry genetic instructions for proteins are known as "messenger" RNA or mRNA. There are many other types of RNA that are not made into proteins, but have regulatory functions themselves. These include ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and translational RNA (tRNA) that form components of the cell's protein-making machinery.
  • Gene transfer: Gene transfer refers to the transfer of genetic material from one organism to another. Organisms can inherit genes in two primary ways, the first being gene transfer from a parent to an offspring, which is called as vertical gene transfer. The second is gene transfer from one individual to another of the same or different species, which is called horizontal gene transfer. Horizontal gene transfer may happen naturally as an evolutionary process (such as drug resistance in bacteria) or may be done artificially.
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Methods

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Research

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Implications

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Limitations

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Safety

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Future Research

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.