Introduction to DNA Repair Mechanisms
“Genetic variation is important for evolution, but the survival of the individuals
demand genetic stability”
What is DNA repair?
DNA is the genetic information carrier molecule in the cell and thus it is very essential to keep the genetic information intact. Even though DNA holds a prime position, it is one of the highly susceptible molecules in the cells because DNA can be damaged by a number of factors both internal and external in origin. It is very surprising to know that, our cells lose approximately 5000 nucleotides every day due to different damages of the DNA. If these damages are not rectified properly, our cells will be subjected to severe mutations and that will be fatal for the survival of the individual cells and the organism itself. DNA replication process in the cell which ensures the production of exact copy of the genetic information is very accurate due to the high fidelity of DNA polymerase enzyme. However, the process of DNA replication is not 100 percent error free. DNA polymerase enzyme sometimes accidentally introduces wrong bases which will disrupt the normal Watson-Crick base paring of the DNA. There are also many possibilities of DNA damage during genetic recombination happens during gametogenesis by meiotic cell division. If the damages or errors in the DNA are not corrected in the somatic cells, it may leads to the development of cancer or it results in the loss of function of genes. More than that, if DNA damages occur in the gametes is not rectified, it will be carried over to next generation through progenies. Thus, damage to the genetic materials is a major threat to all organisms. In order to counteract these threats, cells has evolved many methods to overcome and rectify different types DNA damages. All these methods are collectively termed as DNA REPAIR mechanisms. Similar to DNA replication, transcription and translation, the process of DNA repair is also a prime molecular event in the cells which is very essential for the ultimate survival of the cells and also for the survival of the organism.
DNA Repair and Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2015)