DNA Repair and Simple Recombination

  • Edward A. Birge


All organisms and some viruses have their own mechanisms for maintaining the integrity of their nucleic acid (i.e., for repairing any damage). Nevertheless, most organisms can undergo some sort of genetic transfer or exchange process(es). The two mechanisms may seem antithetical because recombination, the movement of genetic information from one molecule of nucleic acid to another, implies that a nucleic acid molecule loses its integrity and undergoes some kind of structural alteration. However, as is discussed in this chapter, one way to view the recombination process is that it has appropriated the essential DNA repair processes for a function in which the potential for damage to the genetic information contained in a nucleic acid molecule is outweighed by the potential benefit to be derived from new genetic information. Viewed in this way, the genetic transfer processes that are discussed in subsequent chapters are really afterthoughts that trigger preexisting repair pathways to accomplish DNA recombination.


RecA Protein Pyrimidine Dimer Strand Exchange Holliday Junction Nucleic Acid Molecule 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward A. Birge
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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