Sections 2.1, 2.2, 10.2  

DNA

Introduction

Deoxyribose nucleic acid, called DNA for short, is the biomolecule that is most responsible for providing a living organism with a way to store and express the information for life. It is also the medium by which genetic information is transferred from a parent to its offspring. Encoded upon the DNA strands are regions (also known as genes) with discrete instructions for producing the molecular tools required of all living organisms - namely proteins. The proteins that are produced have functional roles in just about every aspect of a living cell. Some proteins play a structural role in a cell. Other proteins are enzymes that regulate many biochemical pathways (anabolic and catabolic) in living organisms. The process of taking the genetic information and converting it to a protein, of which DNA plays an important role, is a fairly complicated process covered in greater detail in the discussion on ribonucleic acids (RNA). The basic chemistry of DNA is rather simple in comparison to the complex roles it plays.

Copyright 2002, John Wiley & Sons Publishers, Inc.