Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a molecule that carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses. DNA and RNA are nucleic acids; alongside proteins, lipids and complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides), they are one of the four major types of macromolecule that are essential for all known forms of life. Most DNA molecules consist of two biopolymer strands coiled around each other to form a double helix.
- DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid , it was discovered by Friedrich Miescher.
- DNA is a double stranded molecule made up of elongated chain of subunits called nucleotides.
- DNA is mainly found in nucleus and in small amount it is also found in mitochondria an chloroplast.
- Chemically a nucleotide has three components.
(1) Nitrogenous base
(2) Pentose Sugar
(3) Phosphate group.
- Nitrogenous base are of two type i.e. Purine & Pyrimidines.
- Purines contain two nitrogen base i.e. Adenine and Guanine.
- Pyrimidine nitrogen base are Thymine and Cytosine, thus there are four kinds of nucleotide present in DNA i.e. Adenine, Guanine, Thymine, Cytosine.
DNA is a long polymer made from repeating units called nucleotides. The structure of DNA is non-static, all species comprises two helical chains each coiled round the same axis. Although each individual repeating unit is very small, DNA polymers can be very large molecules containing millions of nucleotides. For instance, the DNA in the largest human chromosome, chromosome number 1, consists of approximately 220 million base pairs and would be 85 mm long if straightened.
In living organisms DNA does not usually exist as a single molecule, but instead as a pair of molecules that are held tightly together. These two long strands entwine like vines, in the shape of a double helix. The nucleotide contains both a segment of the backbone of the molecule (which holds the chain together) and a nucleobase (which interacts with the other DNA strand in the helix). A nucleobase linked to a sugar is called a nucleoside and a base linked to a sugar and one or more phosphate groups is called a nucleotide. A polymer comprising multiple linked nucleotides (as in DNA) is called a polynucleotide.
The backbone of the DNA strand is made from alternating phosphate and sugar residues. The sugar in DNA is 2-deoxyribose, which is a pentose (five-carbon) sugar. The sugars are joined together by phosphate groups that form phosphodiester bonds between the third and fifth carbon atoms of adjacent sugar rings. These asymmetric bonds mean a strand of DNA has a direction. In a double helix the direction of the nucleotides in one strand is opposite to their direction in the other strand: the strands are antiparallel. The asymmetric ends of DNA strands are called the 5′ (five prime) and 3′ (three prime) ends, with the 5′ end having a terminal phosphate group and the 3′ end a terminal hydroxyl group. One major difference between DNA and RNA is the sugar, with the 2-deoxyribose in DNA being replaced by the alternative pentose sugar ribose in RNA.
The DNA double helix is stabilized primarily by two forces: hydrogen bonds between nucleotides and base-stacking interactions among aromatic nucleobases. In the aqueous environment of the cell, the conjugated π bonds of nucleotide bases align perpendicular to the axis of the DNA molecule, minimizing their interaction with the solvation shell. The four bases found in DNA are adenine (abbreviated A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T). These four bases are attached to the sugar/phosphate to form the complete nucleotide, as shown for adenosine monophosphate. Adenine pairs with thymine and guanine pairs with cytosine. It was represented by A-T base pairs and G-C base pairs.
Function of DNA:
- DNA is genetic material and contains genetic information in coded form.
- DNA has two main function replication and expression.