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Scientists recognize semiconservative replication as the mechanism by

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Scientists recognize semiconservative replication as the mechanism by [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2016, 21:41
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Scientists recognize semiconservative replication as the mechanism by which DNA replicates prior to cell division. In this process, the bases of the double helix are broken, and the molecule "unzips" into two strands. Each strand then joins with a new strand, so that each copy is an equal mix of old and new DNA.
Prior to the Meselson-Stahl experiment of 1958, other methods of DNA replication were suggested. In the conservative replication model, a completely new double helix would be formed, leaving the original intact. Dispersive replication, by contrast, breaks the DNA molecule into small segments, each of which joins with a complimentary segment. Then, the segments reform into two strands of DNA that contain pieces of the old and pieces of the new DNA.

In the Meselson-Stahl experiment, the scientists grew E. coli bacterial cultures, some with heavy nitrogen isotopes, and some with lighter nitrogen isotopes. This gave the scientists a way to distinguish between old and newly synthesized DNA. The bacteria grown in heavy nitrogen were then transferred to medium containing the lighter density DNA, which would incorporate into any newly synthesized DNA. After one generation, the DNA was of a density exactly intermediate to the heavy and light DNA. This eliminated the possibility of conservative replication, which would have resulted in equal amounts of the two separate densities. After two generations, half of the DNA was intermediate and half was light. This eliminated the possibility of dispersive replication, which would have produced DNA that was all of a density between the light and exactly intermediate DNA. E. coli are bacteria, and are thus prokaryotes, organisms that lack complex cell structures, but semiconservative replication also occurs in eukaryotes, organisms with complex cells such as animals and plants. Since each DNA molecule in a eukaryote is incorporated in one chromosome, human chromosome replication is also semiconservative.

When Watson and Crick deciphered the structure of DNA in 1953, they intuited that the semiconservative model was correct. However, this still amounted to a clever guess, and so it remained until Meselson and Stahl devised a way to differentiate between the original strands of DNA and future generations. Since then, autoradiographic images have confirmed the correctness of Watson and Crick's intuition and the effectiveness of Meselson and Stahl's elegant experiment.

Q1

The author mentions that eukaryotes replicate through semiconservative replication in order to make the point that

A)the choice of E. coli bacteria was a good one for the Meselson-Stahl experiment
B) semiconservative replication depends on an organism having a complex cell structure
C) Watson and Crick realized that their work would have implications for humans
D) the Meselson-Stahl had implications for forms of life beyond simple bacteria
E) each DNA molecule in a eukaryote is incorporated in one chromosome
[Reveal] Spoiler:
D


Q2
According to the passage, which of the following is the reason that, had the conservative model been correct, the same number of heavy and light strands of DNA would have resulted?

A) Conservative replication breaks up the original DNA into small segments.
B) An equal mix of old and new DNA is formed using the conservative model.
C) Conservative replication would keep the original strands untouched.
D) The double helix of DNA is separated only in the conservative model of replication.
E) The conservative replication model splits the original DNA into four discrete strands.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
C


Q3
It can be inferred from the passage that in the Meselson-Stahl experiment, a third generation of bacteria would produce bacteria with

A) some light density and some intermediate density DNA
B) some light density and some heavy density DNA
C) some heavy density and some intermediate density DNA
D) only light density DNA
E) only intermediate density DNA
[Reveal] Spoiler:
A
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #1 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #2 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #3 OA

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Re: Scientists recognize semiconservative replication as the mechanism by [#permalink]

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New post 21 Nov 2016, 16:35
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Q.1
Let us look at the sentence in the passage that states this -
"semiconservative replication also occurs in eukaryotes, organisms with complex cells such as animals and plants. Since each DNA molecule in a eukaryote is incorporated in one chromosome, human chromosome replication is also semiconservative."

Author mentions this to make the point that human chromosome replication is also semiconservative. Which answer option states this? Option D. (implications beyond simple bacteria. i.e. for eukaryotes too such as humans).

A - we cannot infer anything about this. And nowhere is this mentioned in the sentence above.
B - not true. We know that they can occur in prokaryotes too,
C- cannot be inferred. Watson and crick are not mentioned in the sentence.
D - correct answer.
E - this is just a statement of fact. this along with the previous sentence (semiconservative replication also occurs in eukaryotes) is used to draw the conclusion - human chromosome replication is also semiconservative.

Q2.
look at this sentence - "In the conservative replication model, a completely new double helix would be formed, leaving the original intact."
Which answer option states this? Option C.

Q3.
After one generation, the DNA was of a density exactly intermediate to the heavy and light DNA. (100% intermediate)
After two generations, half of the DNA was intermediate and half was light.(50% intermediate and 50% light)
third generation
50% intermediate would split into 25% intermediate and 25% light (As in second generation)
So, we have 25% intermediate and 75% light.

Only option A states this.
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Re: Scientists recognize semiconservative replication as the mechanism by [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2017, 15:11
I had trouble understanding the English in this one and I am a native English speaker.

" The bacteria grown in heavy nitrogen were then transferred to medium containing the lighter density DNA"

What does transfer to medium mean? Do they mean transferred to a medium? If I insert the word A I get the paragraph but without it, I really have no idea what is going on.

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Re: Scientists recognize semiconservative replication as the mechanism by [#permalink]

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New post 21 Sep 2017, 07:50
Official Answers from VeritasPrep:

Q 1

The point of the 3rd paragraph is that the experiment applies not only to "organisms that lack complex cell structures. . ." but also to "eukaryotes, organisms with complex cells such as animals and plants."
A - Since E. coli are prokaryotes, this answer choice does not make sense.
B - The passage contradicts this point by claiming that semiconservative replication applies to simple organisms (prokaryotes) and complex ones (eukaryotes).
C - We are not given any suggestions as to Watson and Crick's thoughts on this subject.
E - This is presented as a piece of evidence, not a reason for making the point that semiconservative replication applies to eukaryotes.

Q 2

In the 2nd paragraph, the passage states that "In the conservative replication model, a completely new double helix would be formed, leaving the original intact." Therefore, the original heavy strands would still be present, as would an equal number of light strands.
A - This is a description of dispersive replication
B - The conservative model does not mix, it keeps the originals untouched. D - This is not stated or implied in the passage. E - Nowhere is this implied; instead each method is said to double the DNA through replication.

Q 3

The 2nd generation produced light and intermediate density DNA, and the passage states that "the lighter density DNA . . . would incorporate into any newly synthesized DNA." Therefore the intermediate DNA of the 2nd generation will get lighter (but still be intermediate) and the light DNA will remain light. The explanation above should eliminate any of the incorrect choices.

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Re: Scientists recognize semiconservative replication as the mechanism by [#permalink]

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New post 21 Sep 2017, 07:52
SamBoyle wrote:
I had trouble understanding the English in this one and I am a native English speaker.

" The bacteria grown in heavy nitrogen were then transferred to medium containing the lighter density DNA"

What does transfer to medium mean? Do they mean transferred to a medium? If I insert the word A I get the paragraph but without it, I really have no idea what is going on.


I concur. It should mean "a" medium.

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Re: Scientists recognize semiconservative replication as the mechanism by [#permalink]

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New post 21 Sep 2017, 07:58
Q 4

The author suggests that autoradiographic visualization

A. gave Watson and Crick insights into the structure of DNA

B. made the Meselson-Stahl experiment possible

C. shows that before a cell can divide, the bases of the double helix must break

D. does not, by itself, provide a way to differentiate between original strands of DNA and future generations

E. put an end to the possibility of conservative replication in bacteria

OA in next post.

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Re: Scientists recognize semiconservative replication as the mechanism by [#permalink]

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New post 21 Sep 2017, 07:59
Official Answers from VeritasPrep:

Q 4

Since semiconservative replication involves the breaking of the double helix (from the 1st paragraph), and since it is known that semiconservative replication is accurate, then autoradiographic visualization, which confirms the Meselson-Stahl experiment, would confirm this.

A - The passage does not mention that these men used autoradiographic visualization.
B - The passage does not state that autoradiographic visualization was employed or relied on in the Meselson-Stahl experiment.
D - This cannot be implied from the passage; autoradiographic visualization might be able to differentiate between the two.
E - The 2nd paragraph states that "Prior to the Meselson-Stahl experiment of 1958, other methods of DNA replication were suggested." Therefore this experiment put an end to the possibility of conservative replication

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Re: Scientists recognize semiconservative replication as the mechanism by   [#permalink] 21 Sep 2017, 07:59
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