DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid and is the genetic material found in all living organisms. It is a long, double-stranded helix-shaped molecule made up of nucleotides, which are the building blocks of DNA. The structure of DNA is often described as a twisted ladder, with the rungs of the ladder consisting of pairs of nucleotides held together by hydrogen bonds.
There are four types of nucleotides in DNA, each containing a sugar molecule, a phosphate group, and a nitrogenous base. The four nitrogenous bases are adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). The sequence of these bases determines the genetic information that is carried by DNA.
DNA replication is the process by which cells make copies of their DNA before cell division. During replication, the two strands of DNA unwind and separate, and each strand serves as a template for the synthesis of a new complementary strand. The complementary base pairing rules ensure that the new strands are identical to the original strands.
The genetic information in DNA is used to create proteins through a process called gene expression. During gene expression, a segment of DNA is transcribed into RNA, which is then translated into a specific sequence of amino acids to form a protein.
Mutations can occur in DNA, which can change the sequence of nucleotides and alter the genetic information carried by the DNA. Some mutations can be harmful and lead to diseases such as cancer, while others can be beneficial and provide an advantage to an organism in its environment.
Overall, DNA is the blueprint of life and is essential for the growth, development, and functioning of all living organisms. The study of DNA has revolutionized the field of biology and has led to many advances in medicine, genetics, and biotechnology.
Also known as deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA is a long molecule that contains our unique genetic code (hereditary material) found in most organisms, most notably humans. The information in DNA is stored as a code made up of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). The order, or sequence, of these bases determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism. It is a two-stranded molecule with a unique ‘double helix’ shape. The human genome is made of 3.2 billion bases of DNA but other organisms have different genome sizes. An important property of DNA is that it can replicate, or make copies of itself. Each strand of DNA in the double helix can serve as a pattern for duplicating the sequence of bases. This is critical when cells divide because each new cell needs to have an exact copy of the DNA present in the old cell.