Replication Fork

∞ generated and posted on 2016.08.28 ∞

Place where the two strand of a double helix are separated such that each can be duplicated.

The Replication Fork is explicitly where DNA replication occurs. It is called a fork as equivalent to a fork in the road, where one path (double helix) physically and chemically turns into two.

The DNA strands that are duplicated can be differentiated into a leading strand, where replication is ongoing as the replication fork is opened up, and a lagging strand where replication occurs in the direction away from the replication fork.

The latter must be repeatedly be reinitiated, with each new fragment attached (ligated by DNA ligase) to the previously produced fragment, and so on.

Replication forks are further complicated by (1) the need to stabilize DNA following separation of strands but before each strand is replicated, (2) the various additional problems that come about as a consequence of forcing the DNA strands to separate, and (3) the need to make sure that duplication occurs only with "high fidelity".

The following video is a computer animation of leading strand and lagging strand synthesis: