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Dear Dr. Pat,

The 4 bases are adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine, right?  But, what are purines and what are pyrimidines?

Hi !
You ask a great question.
Purines are the bases that have two rings (adenine and guanine) while pyrimidines are the bases that have only one ring (cytosine, uracil, and thymine).  There are other purines and pyrimidines besides the ones that are used for DNA and RNA.  These others do other functions in the cell and in the body.
Thanks for a great question !
Dr. Pat

What is bacteria?  Just want to know.    
Thanks, bye

Hi Michael,
A bacterium (plural is bacteria), is a single cell organism.  That means that this type of living creature is composed entirely of one cell.  Your body has trillions that all work together so you can walk and talk and think.  Bacteria, being so small, can still do remarkable things....Like swim to a specific location and grow and divide to make more bacteria just like him.  When scientists through the years have discovered more and more about the world around us, they first try to categorize things.  Bacteria are the category that the old time scientists gave to all the millions of different kind of single cell living creatures.
Dr. Pat

I teach High School biology and anatomy/physiology. A student asks if uracil is always substituted in RNA? I'm unsure if it is 100% of the time. Can you help me?
Mrs. Marks

Dear Ms. Cook,
You must thank your student for their most excellent question.  Messenger RNA does not contain Thymine base, only Uracil.  But, with transfer RNA, things get a bit more complicated.  Evidently, tRNA contains up to 10% of its total as minor or odd bases. This includes ribothymidylic acid, which is the ribose version of deoxy-ribo-thymidine found in DNA.  Other minor bases include the methylated versions of A, C, G, and U.
Ribosomal DNA, as best I can find, contains minor amounts of the methylated A, C, G, and U bases.  If and when I should run across a theory as to what purpose these base substitutions fulfill, I will pass that along. Maybe your student can become a researcher and figure it out themselves.
Thanks for the question.
Dr. Pat

I was wondering if you could send me information on the DNA sequence of the genes on chromosome 19, also what the function is of each gene and what they are responsible for determining?
Thank you, Loryn

Dear Loryn,
The human genome project is unraveling just this sort of information. Their information can be found at:
Dr. Pat

I was wondering if I can get a clone?  I always wanted a twin.  I wonder if scientists can test it out on me?  If someone gets a clone does it cost money???  If they do an experiment on a human, I'll be the one to test on.
Thanks,  Amy

For better or worse, scientists can not yet clone human beings.  And, if they could, she would be a baby version of you, not your age.
Thanks for asking,
Dr. Pat



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