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Molecular Biology

What is DNA and How does it work?


Learning Goals
• Know the structure and functions of
DNA and RNA
• Know the parts of DNA
• Know the structure of DNA
• Understand how DNA replicates
itself and how the information is
expressed.
• Understand how information flows
from DNA to RNA to proteins
Vocabulary
• Nucleotides • Adenine
• RNA • Thymine
• DNA • Guanine
• transcription • Cytosine
• translation • Amino acid
• Replication
• Base pairing
• ribosomes
Living cells
• Need proteins to carry
out different functions
• Cells produce proteins
by using RNA to carry
genetic information
from DNA (nucleus) to
cytoplasm
• DNA structure
discovered in 1953.
• Watson & Crick
Deoxyribonucleic acid
• Genetic material that contains
information to produce proteins
• Made of two long chains of
molecules called nucleotides
• Two chains are arranged like a
twisted ladder- “double helix”
• Eukaryotic cells: DNA lives in the
nucleus
DNA
DNA has four roles compatible with
structure
1. DNA makes copies
of itself
2. DNA encodes
information
3. DNA controls cells
and tells them what
to do
4. DNA changes by
mutation
DNA copies itself
• During cell division,
chromosomes are
duplicated.
• A copy of each
chromosome is given to
each daughter cell
• Hereditary information is
transferred to new
generation
DNA encodes information
• Information within DNA
provides for certain traits
• All organisms have heritable
traits
• Differences within the
species
• DNA has common features,
but some differences
• If it was the same we would
all look alike
DNA controls cells
• DNA not only carries
information
• Information is put to use to
control what the cell will do
• Genetic information is
expressed by chemical
processes
• Not fully understood
DNA changes by mutation
• Change can occur due to
mutations
• Flexibility allows for
functionability
• If it was hard and
unchangeable, no
mutations would occur
More about ‘Double Helix’ design
• A Nucleotide has three
components
1. five carbon sugar
2. nitrogen-containing base
3. phosphate group
• In DNA the sugar and
phosphate group are the same
throughout but the bases are
different.
Nitrogenous bases
• Adenine & Thymine
• Guanine & Cytosine
• Held together by Hydrogen bonds
• The sequence encodes the genetic
information
Review
1. How does the structure of DNA allow
itself to take on several roles? (4)
2. What are the “rungs” of the ladder
composed of?
3. An adenine base always corresponds
with which base?
4. A cytosine base always corresponds
with?