Every cell has to contain the
precious book of life, the DNA. To make this
possible, a complex machinery, like a copying
machine, copies the cells DNA before it divides. That
way each daughter cell receives an exact copy of the
dividing cell's DNA. This doubling of DNA is called
replication. schematic illustration»
In addition to this "copying machine" cells have
evolved mechanisms to correct mistakes that sometimes
occur during DNA replication, a DNA repair system.
Abnormalities in these processes, copying and
repairing, result in a failure of accurate
replication and maintenance of DNA - a failure that
can have disastrous consequences, such as the
development of cancer.
Thus replication constitutes the fundamental
condition for biological growth (cell division) and
transmission of genetic information, DNA, from one
generation to another (reproduction).