DNA polymerase

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The DNA polymerases are the group of enzymes (or enzyme systems) that facilitate the formation of DNA strands from nucleotides. Two main types are of interest in biomedical science:

  • Human DNA polymerase (to understand how human DNA is replicated - of interest in many fields, e.g. Oncology, Embryology)
  • Bacterially-derived DNA polymerases

Bacterial DNA polymerases are employed in the polymerase chain reaction. They are valuable because, unlike most DNA polymerases (including human), they do not readily become denatured by heat. An example is taq polymerase, derived from an organism (Thermus aquaticus) found in very hot springs. This ability means the enzyme survives the heating steps in DNA amplification in vitro.

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