Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne DNA Use
Name: Ana		
Status: Student
Grade:  9-12
Location: VA
Country: United States
Date: March 2007


Question:
Which are the cells in our body expressing the most DNA?



Replies:
This may be a more complicated question than you might think. Our body's DNA is made up of lots of different regions, some of which code proteins, some of which code 'control sequences' that regulate how proteins are made, some of which aren't used at all, and other sections that we aren't sure what they do. Moreover, some segments of DNA have multiple jobs; they are used for one purpose in one cell and for another purpose in another cell. All of these complicated, overlapping roles are part of the reason it's so hard to unlock DNA's mysteries.

To answer your question best, some clarification might help. In biology, we do not say DNA is "expressed". Proteins are "expressed", not DNA. Are you wanting to know which cells use the most DNA (e.g. uses X% of its DNA)? This is an exceedingly difficult question to answer with certainty. Or are you asking which cells express the largest number of proteins (or the greatest amount of protein)? If that's the case, I would point to rapidly growing cells like cancer cells. Or, you might mean which cells have the most potential to turn into other cells (e.g. still have access to their entire set of DNA) -- that's an active area of research, especially with stem cells.

Burr



Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory