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Cover Molecular Biology

RNA processing  

This chapter explores RNA processing events, which are points for regulation and quality control, and are sources of diversity. Many RNA processing reactions are directed by RNA components. Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) are processed out of longer precursor transcripts, and the nucleotides are post-transcriptionally modified. Meanwhile, the maturation of eukaryotic messenger RNAs (mRNAs) requires the addition of a 5' cap and a poly(A) tail—processes that are closely tied to transcription, splicing, transport out of the nucleus, and ultimately translation. The chapter then explains RNA splicing, RNA editing, and RNA degradation. RNA splicing allows the generation of great diversity in RNA products and can be catalysed by the RNA itself (self-splicing) or by a large protein and RNA-containing complex called the spliceosome. The chapter also looks at RNA-binding domains in proteins.


Cover The Cell

RNA Synthesis and Processing  

This chapter discusses the initial level at which gene expression is regulated in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, which is the first step in expression of a gene and transcription of DNA into RNA. It highlights different types of RNA that play distinct roles in cells, such as messenger RNAs (mRNAs) that serve as templates for protein synthesis. It also considers other noncoding RNAs function in gene regulation, mRNA splicing, rRNA processing, and protein sorting in eukaryotes. The chapter examines the roles of noncoding RNAs as regulators of gene expression in eukaryotic cells. It describes mRNA processing and the roles of snRNAs and patterns of alternative splicing, including RNA editing.


Cover Molecular Biology of RNA

David Elliott and Michael Ladomery

Molecular Biology of RNA provides an overview of a cutting-edge field of biology. It starts with an introduction to the subject. It looks at how RNA can form versatile structures. It moves on to consider catalytic RNAs. Other topics covered include pre-mRNA splicing by the spliceosome, the RNA-binding proteins, pre-mRNA splicing defects found in development and disease, and co-transcriptional pre-mRNA processing. The text also looks at nucleocytoplasmic traffic of messenger RNA, messenger RNA localization, and translation of messenger RNA. It also examines stability and degradation of mRNA and RNA editing. Finally, the text provides an analysis on biogenesis and nucleocytoplasmic traffic of non-coding RNAs; the 'macro' RNAs, which include long non-coding RNAs and epigenetics; and the short non-coding RNAs and gene silencing. The text ends with a quick look at future perspectives.


Cover Molecular Biology of RNA

RNA editing  

This chapter discusses how open reading frames (ORFs) of some RNAs can be altered after transcription by RNA editing. The chapter highlights the important role RNA editing plays in keeping selfish DNA elements in the genome in check. It also mentions the significant role RNA editing plays in enabling tRNAs to translate mRNAs efficiently, which is a process that is conserved between bacteria and eukaryotes. The chapter explains how RNA editing changes the sequence of RNAs once they have already been transcribed. It analyses RNA editing through base modification that changes the chemical identity of nucleotides already present within the transcript.


Cover Plants, Genes & Agriculture

Genes, Genomics, and Molecular Biology  

The Basis of Modern Crop Improvement

Kranthi K. Mandadi and T. Erik Mirkov

This chapter begins the consideration of the basic biology that is the foundation of crop-plant improvement by describing genetics, heredity, and molecular biology. The basics of DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis are necessary to an understanding of genes and how/when/where they are expressed; a crucial prerequisite for crop improvement. Gene expression encompasses all the steps from transcription of the DNA to the formation of the final protein. The chapter looks at mutations, which are the basis of polymorphism in the DNA, leading to polymorphism in the individuals of a population. Plant breeders are interested in understanding which polymorphism is associated with which trait. The chapter then highlights the importance of genome sequencing, bioinformatics, and gene editing technologies for plant biologists and breeders.


Cover Genetic Analysis

Genome editing  

This chapter looks into genome editing, which is currently a system of analysis for most eukaryotes as a result of the widespread adoption of the technique known as CRISPR-Cas9. The chapter discusses the genome editing process: searching the genome for the location of the desired edit, interrupting the DNA sequence at the specific location, and editing the function of a gene or site using double-stranded break repair mechanisms. It describes how the CRISPR array provides the search and find function when using the CRISPR-Cas9 technique, while Cas9 nuclease provides the interrupt and double-stranded break function. It also discusses how editing the targeted double-stranded break depends on the two processes by which cells repair other double-stranded breaks: homology- directed repair and non-homologous end joining (NHEJ).