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DNA

DNA

Carrier of genetic information in cells.

Chemistry

Keywords

DNA, DNA-helix, DNA chain, genetic material, deoxyribonucleic acid, nucleic acid, adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine, polynucleotide, nitrogen-containing base, deoxyribose, phosphoric acid, nucleotide, base pairs, genetic code, Watson, Crick, Franklin, Wilkins, right-handed, complementary, nucleus, chemistry, biochemistry, biology

Related items

Scenes

Narration

Deoxyribose

  • 2-deoxy-beta-D-ribose

Deoxyribonucleic acid/DNA

Properties

DNA is a polynucleotide with a double helix structure. It was discovered in 1953 by Watson and Crick.

It can be cut into nucleotide molecule components by careful hydrolysis. Each nucleotide is built up from a nitrogen-containing base, a phosphoric acid molecule and 2-deoxy-beta-D-ribose. The nitrogen-containing bases of DNA are adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine.

Nucleotides attach and form polynucleotide chains. DNA consists of two polynucleotide chains, which are kept together by hydrogen bonds formed between complementary base pairs. Adenine can only attach to thymine, while guanine can only attach to cytosine, thus the base sequence of one chain determines the base sequence of the other, complementary chain.

The double helix is right-handed. The base pairs within the helix are covered with sugar-phosphate backbones consisting of deoxyribose and phosphoric acid. Each gene in the DNA defines a protein during biological protein synthesis, with the mediation of RNA molecules.

Occurrence

DNA carries genetic information in cells. In eukaryotes it is concentrated in the cell nucleus.

Uses

Deoxyribonucleic acid is mainly used in genetic engineering, for example in the modification of certain bacteria cells in order to produce important substances, such as insulin.

Phosphoric acid

  • phosphoric acid

Nucleobases

  • cytosine
  • thymine
  • adenine
  • guanine

Base pairs

  • cytosine
  • thymine
  • adenine
  • guanine

Nucleotides

  • adenosine monophosphate
  • guanosine monophosphate
  • thymidine monophosphate
  • cytidine monophosphate

Molecular model of DNA

Schematic model of DNA

Related items

2-deoxy-beta-D-ribose (C₅H₁₀O₄)

A component of DNA, it contains one less hydroxyl group than β-D-ribose.

Organisation of genetic material

Eukaryotic cells with nuclei measuring only a few micrometres may contain nearly 2 metres of DNA, coiled multiple times.

Phosphoric acid (H₃PO₄)

It is also used as a food additive, limescale and rust remover.

Purine (C₅H₄N₄)

A heterocyclic aromatic organic compound, its derivatives include guanine and adenine.

Pyrimidine (C₄H₄N₂)

A heterocyclic organic compound, its derivatives are thymine, cytosine and uracil.

RNA

A polynucleotid made up of phosphoric acid, ribose, and nucleobases (cytosine, uracil, adenine and guanine).

Amoeba proteus

Widespread heterotrophic unicellular organisms with constantly changing shapes

Bacteria (advanced)

Bacteria are unicellular organisms that have no nuclei and are a few micrometres in length

Genome editing

Genome editing is a type of genetical engineering which results in changes in the genome of a living organism. This animation introduces one of the best...

Mitosis

Mitosis is the process by which a eukaryotic cell divides into two cells and the number of chromosomes remains unchanged.

Phosphate ion (PO₄³⁻)

A compound ion formed when a phosphoric acid molecule releases a proton.

Prenatal development

This animation demonstrates the development of the human embryo and foetus.

Tardigrade

Tardigrades can survive in extreme environments, they can even stay alive in outer space.

The structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells

There are two basic cell types: prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

Animal and plant cells, cellular organelles

Eukaryotic cells contain a number of organelles.

Bacteria (spheres, rods, spirals)

Bacteria occur in a wide range of shapes, including spheres, rods and spirals.

Fibroin

Fibroin is a fibrillar protein excreted by silkworms.

Polymerisation of ethene

Polymerised ethylene is known as polyethylene, a type of plastic.

Viruses

Viruses consist of protein and DNA or RNA, they reprogram infected cells to produce more viruses.

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