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Dna (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) Essay

559 words - 2 pages

Deoxyribonucleic acid and ribonucleic acid are two chemical substances involvedin transmitting genetic information from parent to offspring. It was known earlyinto the 20th century that chromosomes, the genetic material of cells, containedDNA. In 1944, Oswald T. Avery, Colin M. MacLeod, and Maclyn McCarty concludedthat DNA was the basic genetic component of chromosomes. Later, RNA would beproven to regulate protein synthesis. (Miller, 139)DNA is the genetic material found in most viruses and in all cellular organisms.Some viruses do not have DNA, but contain RNA instead. Depending on the organism,most DNA is found within a single chromosome like bacteria, or in severalchromosomes like most other living things. (Heath, 110) DNA can also be foundoutside of chromosomes. It can be found in cell organelles such as plasmids inbacteria, also in chloroplasts in plants, and mitochondria in plants and animals.All DNA molecules contain a set of linked units called nucleotides. Eachnucleotide is composed of three things. The first is a sugar called deoxyribose.Attached to one end of the sugar is a phosphate group, and at the other is oneof several nitrogenous bases. DNA contains four nitrogenous bases. The first two,adenine and guanine, are double-ringed purine compounds. The others, cytosineand thymine, are single-ringed pyrimidine compounds. (Miller, 141) Four types ofDNA nucleotides can be formed, depending on which nitrogenous base is involved.The phosphate group of each nucleotide bonds with a carbon from the deoxyribose.This forms what is called a polynucleotide chain. James D. Watson and FrancisCrick proved that most DNA consists of two polynucleotide chains that aretwisted together into a coil, forming a double helix. Watson and Crick alsodiscovered that in a double helix, the pairing between bases of the two...

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