DNA is the acronym for deoxyribonucleic acid , which is an organic compound. whose molecules contain the genetic instructions that coordinate the development and functioning of all living things and some viruses.

The main role of DNA is to store the information necessary for the construction of proteins and RNA.

It is found in the nucleus of an organism’s cells, inside the chromosomes, less in the red cells, which have no nucleus.

The segments that contain genetic information are called genes, the rest of the sequence is structurally important or involved in regulating the use of genetic information.

The structure of its molecule was jointly discovered by the American James Watson and the British Francis Crick in 1953, and nine years later were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Except for univiteline twins, each individual’s DNA is unique, each human being has two forms of each gene, one from the mother and one from the father. Even though most genes are the same between people, some DNA sequences vary from person to person. To know the paternity of a child, the DNA test is done, which will confirm its genetic origin.

See also: chromatin and proteins .

Mitochondrial DNA

There is also mitochondrial DNA, which is not found in the nucleus of cells but in the mitochondria. Mitochondrial genetic material is inherited exclusively from the maternal part.

Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA

Mitochondrial DNA often provides information about a being, even if it is in an advanced state of degradation.


This molecule is a long strip of units called nucleotides, which in turn consist of a sugar molecule (in this case deoxyribose: C5H10O4), a nitrogen base (which can be adenine, guanine, cytosine or thymine), and group phosphate that serves as a link between nucleotides. Hence, each nucleotide is distinguished from the others in the nitrogen base it possesses, and that together they develop a chain called the DNA sequence and that can be transcribed using the initial of each base, for example: ACTAGTCAGT …

It also has a double helix shape, wound on itself in three different patterns (called A, B and Z), according to its sequence, number of bases and specific function. This structure is produced due to the union of two strips of nucleotides by hydrogen bonds.

structure of DNA

Differences between RNA and DNA

Both of these are similar nucleotide chains, but they differ, as the name implies, in the type of sugar present in their structure: deoxyribose and ribose, respectively.

In addition, RNA is almost four times larger than DNA, and is composed of a single helix, rather than two. This distinction is also functional, obviously, because it contains the genetic template and RNA is responsible for executing or transporting it.

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