News tagged with dna

Related topics: genes , protein , cells , genome , chromosomes

Interactive map of human genetic history revealed

The interactive map, produced by researchers from Oxford University and UCL (University College London), details the histories of genetic mixing between each of the 95 populations across Europe, Africa, Asia ...

Feb 13, 2014
popularity 5 / 5 (10) | comments 2 | with audio podcast

New study explains evolution of duplicate genes

From time to time, living cells will accidently make an extra copy of a gene during the normal replication process. Throughout the history of life, evolution has molded some of these seemingly superfluous ...

Apr 07, 2014
popularity 4.8 / 5 (8) | comments 7

Study finds crucial step in DNA repair

Scientists at Washington State University have identified a crucial step in DNA repair that could lead to targeted gene therapy for hereditary diseases such as "children of the moon" and a common form of ...

Aug 18, 2014
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DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and some viruses. The main role of DNA molecules is the long-term storage of information. DNA is often compared to a set of blueprints or a recipe, or a code, since it contains the instructions needed to construct other components of cells, such as proteins and RNA molecules. The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in regulating the use of this genetic information.

Chemically, DNA consists of two long polymers of simple units called nucleotides, with backbones made of sugars and phosphate groups joined by ester bonds. These two strands run in opposite directions to each other and are therefore anti-parallel. Attached to each sugar is one of four types of molecules called bases. It is the sequence of these four bases along the backbone that encodes information. This information is read using the genetic code, which specifies the sequence of the amino acids within proteins. The code is read by copying stretches of DNA into the related nucleic acid RNA, in a process called transcription.

Within cells, DNA is organized into X-shaped structures called chromosomes. These chromosomes are duplicated before cells divide, in a process called DNA replication. Eukaryotic organisms (animals, plants, fungi, and protists) store most of their DNA inside the cell nucleus and some of their DNA in the mitochondria (animals and plants) and chloroplasts (plants only). Prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) however, store their DNA in the cell's cytoplasm. Within the chromosomes, chromatin proteins such as histones compact and organize DNA. These compact structures guide the interactions between DNA and other proteins, helping control which parts of the DNA are transcribed.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA