Okazaki Fragments - Biological Function

Biological Function

Although synthesis of the lagging strand involves only half the DNA in the nucleus, the complexity associated with processing Okazaki fragments is about twice that required to synthesize the leading strand. Even in small species such as yeast, Okazaki fragment maturation happens approximately a million times during a single round of DNA replication. Processing of Okazaki fragments is therefore very common and crucial for DNA replication and cell proliferation.

During this process, RNA and DNA primers are removed, allowing the Okazaki fragments to attach to the lagging DNA strand. While this process seems quite simple and repetitive, defects in Okazaki fragment maturation can cause DNA strand breakage which can cause varying forms of “chromosome aberrations”. Severe defects of Okazaki fragment maturation may halt DNA replication and induce cell death. However, while subtle defects do not affect growth, they do result in future varying forms of genome instabilities. Based on the dangers associated with a failure in the DNA process, Okazaki fragments maintain our evolutionary development.

Read more about this topic:  Okazaki Fragments

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