First-of-its-kind Video of DNA replicating

Scientists were able to capture the replicating of our DNA on video for the first time and it changes the way we think about the entire process. The most surprising finding is how randomly the process really is. This undermines a great deal of what is written down in textbooks.

The first step of DNA replicating always sees the double helix splitting into two strands and each of them becomes the template for a new strand. At the end of the process emerge two new DNA molecules. Researchers found out that the pace with which the DNA replicates differs from strand to strand. One of them works at a continuous pace while the other one stops from time to time and then starts up again at random speeds.

There exists no coordination between the strands, they work completely autonomous. This new finding also raises new questions. There seems to be a “dead man´s switch” as scientists call it that kicks in to stop the DNA helix from splitting too far and to minimise mutations. But how does the switch know when to take over if the strands work independently? Maybe these findings will help us understand the human DNA a bit better but it definitely tells us there is a lot more we still don’t know.

to capture (ˈkæptʃəʳ) – einfangen, hier: festhalten

to replicate (ˈreplɪkt) – etwas nachbilden

entire (ɪnˈtəʳ) – ganz, vollständig, gesamt

randomly (ˈrændəmli) – zufällig, wahllos

to undermine (ˈʌndəʳmn) – etwas untergraben, in Frage stellen

double helix (ˈdʌb ˈhi:lɪks) – die Doppelhelix (biol.)

strand (strænd) – hier: der Faden, der Strang

each (i:) – jede (r,s)

template (ˈtemplt) – die Schablone, das Muster

pace (ps) – das Tempo

to differ (ˈdɪfəʳ) – sich unterscheiden

continuous (kənˈtɪnjs) – dauernd, ununterbrochen

autonomous (ɔ:ˈtɒnəməs) – selbstständig

to raise (rz) – hier: eine Frage stellen, aufwerfen

dead man´s switch (ded mæn swɪ) – der Totmannschalter, die Sicherheitsfahrschaltung

to kick in (kɪk) – anlaufen, Wirkung zeigen

independently (ˌɪndɪˈpendəntli) – unabhängig