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Okazaki Fragments

by Greg Crowther


Lyrics

CHORUS:
The leading strand elongates toward
(Okazaki!)
The moving replication fork;
(Okazaki!)
Continuously it extends
(Okazaki joined by ligase!)
Out from the primer to the end.
(Okazaki joined by ligase!)

Reiji Okazaki, working in Japan,
Studied replicating DNA.
Tritiated thymidine helped him understand
The two new strands are built in different ways.

CHORUS

The labeled DNA strands were long and short as well
Following a fifteen-second pulse.
The replication process occurring in the cells
Must be semidiscontinuous!

CHORUS (twice)


Comments

This song is about DNA replication by the enzyme DNA polymerase. Its music underscores the difference between the leading strand (synthesized as one long, continuous piece of DNA, and sung as one long, continuous vocal line) and the Okazaki fragments of the lagging strand (synthesized and sung in pieces until joined together by DNA ligase).