How does DNA replicate?
The first step in DNA replication is to ‘unzip’ the double helix structure of the DNA? molecule.
This is carried out by an enzyme? called helicase which breaks the hydrogen bonds? holding the complementary? bases? of DNA together (A with T, C with G).
The separation of the two single strands of DNA creates a ‘Y’ shape called a replication ‘fork’. The two separated strands will act as templates for making the new strands of DNA.
One of the strands is oriented in the 3’ to 5’ direction (towards the replication fork), this is the leading strand?. The other strand is oriented in the 5’ to 3’ direction (away from the replication fork), this is the lagging strand?. As a result of their different orientations, the two strands are replicated differently: