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14 Comparison of DNA Replication in Cells from Prokarya and Eukarya

Bruce Stillman


It is now supposed that utilization of DNA as genetic material emerged after an RNA world existed (Gesteland and Atkins 1993) and that all contemporary organisms evolved from a common ancestor related to primitive photosynthetic bacteria (Woese and Pace 1993). It is therefore not surprising that cells in the three major kingdoms, Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya, use roughly similar strategies and mechanisms for genome duplication. Nevertheless, the diversity of DNA replication is evident when the varied strategies used for replication of bacteriophage, plasmid, and virus genomes in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes are considered. This diversity becomes obvious when scanning the chapters that summarize the replication of virus genomes later in this book (Hassell and Brinton; Stenlund; Hay; Challberg; Yates; Traktman; Cotmore and Tattersall; Seeger and Mason; Bisaro; Ahrens et al.). I do not attempt to review these varied mechanisms here but rather focus on comparing the replication of cellular DNA in bacteria and eukaryotes. Unfortunately, except for some studies on DNA polymerases, little is known about the process of DNA replication in Archaea, and therefore inclusion of this kingdom adds little to the discussion.

In organisms from bacteria to the multicellular eukaryotes, DNA replication is intimately coupled to the physiology of the individual cell and to global growth controls imposed on a population of cells, whether in a colony of bacteria or in a subset of cells within a developing organism. These regulatory pathways are different in bacteria and eukaryotes and also vary between different cell types within a single...

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