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What does polymerase, DNA and helicase have in common with zippers? Not nearly the same structure but very the same action.

Every living thing is made up of, or is, cells. In this cell is DNA. As you well know, DNA is the tiniest blueprint of whatever creature that is made up of cells. However, cells need to reproduce in order to make the creature grow or maintain lose of dying cells.

But, in order for a cell to reproduce it must make an exact copy of its DNA. Introducing the polymerase and helicase.

When a DNA strand need to duplicate itself with accuracy and speed, it calls on the help of many enzymes. Some of these we will briefly mention but, for now, we shall stick with the two main enzymes: DNA helicase and DNA polymerase.

So, the DNA strand is ready to be duplicated. What is the first step? The helicase enzyme needs to unwind the DNA strand from its double helix structure and the break the connections between the adenine and thymine nucleotides and the guanine and cytosine nucleotides. This unwinding will cause the end of the DNA strand to collect a lot of pressure and would cause the helicase to stop of not relived. To fix this problem, a enzyme called DNA Gyrase, will temporarily break the end of a DNA strand. This relieves the pressure and allows the helicase enzyme to continue unhindered.

Now, once the DNA strand has been “unzipped”, the DNA polymerase enzyme has to come behind the helicase and start filling in the proper nucleotides. Adenine goes with thymine and vice versa, while guanine goes with cytosine and vice versa. This enzyme can do this job at some incredible speeds. Some polymerase enzymes have been recorded to insert 749 nucleotides per second! That is incredibly fast!

However, when something can insert something so fast, you would think it would make a mistake very often. I mean, if you had a 33% percent chance of getting something right, while doing 749 of those same chances, you would think you would get something wrong! But, the polymerase is not like that.

It is said that a polymerase enzyme only makes a single mistake while getting more then 100,000,000 nucleotides inserted! That would mean the polymerase could insert 749 nucleotides onto a single DNA strand for 37 hours and just begin to make a single mistake. I’d like to see you do that!

Even when the polymerase makes a mistake, it can quickly go over, find the mistake and fix it.

Some of you may be wondering why I have been writing so much about all these tiny details. Well, let me tell you why I feel so compelled and awed to share this information with you. So many people do not see that God designed this world. When we observing something so amazing as the polymerase and helicase enzymes, I feel like I have just seen a bit of God’s love and care for we un-deserving humans, and I love seeing it!

 

About Jacob Howard

A writer and Christian, I thank God for letting me see the Salvation offered by His Son and I am eternally grateful for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God!

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