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ARTICLE

Gel electrophoresis

Gel electrophoresis is used to separate macromolecules like DNA, RNA and proteins. DNA fragments are separated according to their size. Proteins can be separated according to their size and their ...

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ARTICLE

Bacterial DNA – the role of plasmids

Like other organisms, bacteria use double-stranded DNA as their genetic material. However, bacteria organise their DNA differently to more complex organisms. Bacterial DNA – a circular chromosome ...

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ARTICLE

Meiosis, inheritance and variation

Although we are all unique, there are often obvious similarities within families. Maybe you have the same nose as your brother or red hair like your mother? Family similarities occur because we ...

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ARTICLE

Role of proteins in the body

Proteins are molecules made of amino acids. They are coded for by our genes and form the basis of living tissues. They also play a central role in biological processes. For example, proteins ...

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ARTICLE

Genotype and phenotype

We are all unique. Even monozygotic twins, who are genetically identical, always have some variation in the way they look and act. This uniqueness is a result of the interaction between our ...

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ARTICLE

Bacterial transformation

Bacteria are commonly used as host cells for making copies of DNA in the lab because they are easy to grow in large numbers. Their cellular machinery naturally carries out DNA replication and ...

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ARTICLE

DNA extraction

DNA extraction is a routine procedure used to isolate DNA from the nucleus of cells. Scientists can buy ready-to-use DNA extraction kits. These kits help extract DNA from particular cell types or ...

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ARTICLE

DNA cloning

DNA cloning is the starting point for many genetic engineering approaches to biotechnology research. Large amounts of DNA are needed for genetic engineering. Multiple copies of a piece of DNA can ...

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ARTICLE

DNA profiling

DNA profiling is the process where a specific DNA pattern, called a profile, is obtained from a person or sample of bodily tissue Even though we are all unique, most of our DNA is actually ...

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ARTICLE

Restriction enzymes

In the laboratory, restriction enzymes (or restriction endonucleases) are used to cut DNA into smaller fragments. The cuts are always made at specific nucleotide sequences. Different restriction ...

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ARTICLE

E. coli – the biotech bacterium

The bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli for short) is crucial in modern biotechnology. Scientists use it to store DNA sequences from other organisms, to produce proteins and to test protein ...

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ARTICLE

Impacts of biotechnology on society

Biotechnology has helped improve the quality of people’s lives for over 10,000 years. Today’s biotechnologies vary in application and complexity. However, they all have potential to change our ...

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ARTICLE

How to add foreign DNA to bacteria

Using modern laboratory techniques, it is relatively easy to add pieces of foreign DNA to bacteria. To do this, scientists first package their DNA of interest within a circular DNA molecule (a ...

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ARTICLE

Transgenic cows – introduction

Scientists at AgResearch in New Zealand have successfully produced healthy transgenic cows that make modified milk or human therapeutic proteins in their milk. What is a transgenic cow ...

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ARTICLE

Modern biotechnology

The discovery that genes are made up of DNA and can be isolated, copied and manipulated has led to a new era of modern biotechnology. New Zealand has many applications for modern biotechnologies ...

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ARTICLE

DNA, chromosomes and gene expression

We hear about DNA all the time, whether it’s in a news story or the latest crime show on TV. But what exactly is DNA? Where is it found? Why is it important? To answer these questions, we need to ...

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ACTIVITY

DNA detective

In this activity, students learn about the collection and processing of DNA evidence and use DNA profiling to solve a crime. The activity is designed for use on an interactive whiteboard with the ...

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ARTICLE

History of xenotransplantation

Xenotransplantation was attempted unsuccessfully in the early 1900s. Several key research developments over the last 100 years now mean that the first xenotransplant treatments could be available ...

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ARTICLE

Xenotransplantation – introduction

Xenotransplantation is when living cells, tissues or organs are transplanted between species. To be successful in humans, xenotransplants must overcome issues of transplant rejection ...

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ARTICLE

Mistakes in DNA

Genetic messages are found on the chromosomes, and we can think of them as genetic codes that are made up of three letter words. For example a very simple genetic message might be: ...

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ARTICLE

The genotype/phenotype connection

What role do genes play in development? How does your genotype contribute to your phenotype? Or more explicitly, how do genes work together to produce RNA that codes for proteins that make up ...

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ARTICLE

Proteins – what they are and how they’re made

Proteins are the key working molecules and building blocks in all cells. They are produced in a similar two-step process in all organisms – DNA is first transcribed into RNA, then RNA is ...

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ARTICLE

Techniques used to make transgenic cows

Scientists producing transgenic cows use a range of techniques including DNA cloning, restriction enzyme digests, ligation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), transfection, nuclear transfer and in ...

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