Journal of Cellular and Molecular Biology Research

Molecular Markers

A molecular marker is a molecule contained within a sample taken from an organism (biological markers) or other matter. It can be used to reveal certain characteristics about the respective source. DNA, for example, is a molecular marker containing information about genetic disorders, genealogy and the evolutionary history of life. Specific regions of the DNA (genetic markers) are used for diagnosing the autosomal recessive genetic disorder cystic fibrosis, taxonomic affinity (phylogenetics) and identity (DNA barcoding). Further, life forms are known to shed unique chemicals, including DNA, into the environment as evidence of their presence in a particular location. Other biological markers, like proteins, are used in diagnostic tests for complex neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease. Non-biological molecular markers are also used, for example, in environmental studies. Molecular mapping aids in identifying the location of particular markers within the genome. There are two types of maps that may be created for analysis of genetic material. First, is a physical map, that helps identify the location of where you are on a chromosome as well as which chromosome you are on. Secondly there is a linkage map that identifies how particular genes are linked to other genes on a chromosome. This linkage map may identify distances from other genes using (cM) centiMorgans as a unit of measurement. Co-dominant markers can be used in mapping, to identify particular locations within a genome and can represent differences in phenotype. Linkage of markers can help identify particular polymorphisms within the genome. These polymorphisms indicate slight changes within the genome that may present nucleotide substitutions or rearrangement of sequence. When developing a map it is beneficial to identify several polymorphic distinctions between two species as well as identify similar sequence between two species.

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