What Is DNA Semi-Conservative Replication?

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DNA semi-conservative replication refers to the two new cells that are produced during the replication process, half of which is a new strand and half of which is an old strand. Understand semi-conservative replication as it pertains to DNA with information from a biology teacher in this free video on science.

Part of the Video Series: DNA Structure & Testing
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Have you ever wondered how your body is able to do amazing things like grow more hair or heal a cut or even make your fingernails longer? Hi I'm Janice Crenetti and I have been teaching biology in high school for over 20 years and I'm here to answer the question what is DNA semiconservative replication? Like a lot of science that is a mouthful but actually once I break it down for you it will seem a lot easier. What I have up on the screen behind me is a DNA molecule. DNA is very important to understanding how the human body works because DNA is what makes us, us. It is why we have the eye color that we have and the hair color that we have. It is why sometimes we get sick and sometimes we don't, why somebody else might be allergic to something and we're not. Well DNA molecules exist all throughout your body. They are actually inside the nucleus of your cells. Every time your hair grows or your fingernails grow, every time you heal a cut or as a child you develop from being a child into an adult and get taller and has body changes in the process, all of that involves DNA making more of itself and that's what DNA replication means. DNA is sort of copying itself almost like a Xerox machine. Well the idea of DNA being semiconservative replication has actually got to do with how much of the DNA molecule that's replicated is new and how much of it is old. So a DNA molecule is twisted up in a cell like this and when it goes to replicate it untwists and it begins to unzip and what is going to happen is a new DNA strand is going to form. DNA is very clever that way. It has these little things called DNA polymerase which will bring in more bases and match the base up with its partner. One at a time these bases will be put in place until I have a whole new form that is forming over here. Well the same thing is going to happen on the other side. The semiconservative part means that the new DNA strand is formed, one part is old and one part is made of new bases so it is not all new and it is not all old, it is a combination of the two and that's what semiconservative replication means. I'm Janice Crenetti and this is what is DNA semiconservative replication.

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