DNA Methylation and Child Proof Outlet Covers

DNA Methylation and Child Proof Outlet Covers

DNA contains our genetic code for who we are. When we need new proteins, enzymes, and cells, specific areas of the DNA called genes are copied to produce these new products. When DNA is methylated (the addition of a carbon and three hydrogen molecules to the DNA), the ability for the gene to express or be copied is blocked. This prevents unwanted proteins and cells from being replicated. The methyl groups bind to areas on the DNA strand called CpG sites. CpG stands for Cytosine-phosphate-Guanine. The CpG site acts like a plug. If the CpG site is filled with a methyl group, the gene can’t replicate. If there is no methyl group attached to the CpG site the gene can be copied. I’ll use an analogy to make this easier to understand. When I want to use my vacuum cleaner I need to plug it into electricity. There are specific spots in my wall where I can plug the cord in called outlets. Our DNA is a long molecule. There are specific areas on the DNA where replication can occur. The CpG sites signify the areas where replication can occur. When a gene needs to replicate to produce new proteins, messengers molecules called “transcription factors” (the plug of my vacuum) are sent to the DNA to bind to the CpG sites (the outlet). When the two combine, the gene is able to be copied. When my kids were little, we put protective covers on our electrical outlets when we weren’t using them to prevent the kids from sticking things in the outlet and getting an unwanted shock. Methyl groups...
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