Science Articles

WHAT IS DNA?

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is known to be the master molecule of every cell. It is the carrier of important information that is passed on from one generation to another and so on. Cell dies if it is destroyed.

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is known to be the master molecule of every cell. It is the carrier of important information that is passed on from one generation to another and so on. Cell dies if it is destroyed.

When DNA gets altered or changed, even slightly, there can be serious problems that occur. Variations in the characteristics of a species occur because of the changes in the DNA structure. DNA carries the genes which help in passing on the inherited characteristics.

In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick were the two to determine the structure of a DNA as a double-helix polymer, a spiral that consists of two DNA strands that are wound around each other. The two strands also run in opposite directions and are anti-parallel.

For example, DNA is so important that even the Government pays a lot to unravel the mysteries of DNA sequencing to find the cure for various genetic diseases. The DNA evidence found at crime scenes is a strong evidence for finding the culprit.

The DNA is unique for everyone and that’s why it is easy to match the DNA found at the crime scene with that of the DNA of the guilty person. Even a single DNA obtained from one cell can be cloned to make an animal, plant and even humans.

DNA STRUCTURE

DNA is one of nucleic acids that are found in the nucleus of the human cell. It acts as a guide for the cell in making new proteins for determining the biological traits and characteristics and DNA gets copied from one generation to another.

DNA is twisted and is made of proteins in bead-like shape, called histones. When a cell multiplies, DNA gets copied and transferred to each daughter cell.

DNA is long polymer which is made from repeating units like nucleotides. It is composed of two helical chains which are bound to each other with the help of hydrogen bonds. DNA is always unique for each and every individual.

FUNCTIONS OF DNA

  • DNA is information molecule which stores instructions for making other large molecules like proteins.
  • DNA replication is very important for reproduction, growth and maintenance of cells, tissues and the body systems.
  • Learning and studying about DNA tells more about parentage. Half of your chromosomes are from your father and half are from your mother..
  • DNA profiling i.e. extracting DNA samples from blood, semen, skin, hair, saliva etc to identify the matching DNA of the individual; helps the forensic departments to catch the killer or identify the victim.