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DNA

The Basics...


What is DNA?

DNA is the genetic material located inside the nucleus of our cells. DNA is a made by connecting together nucleotides into a long string. Each nucleotide is made of the 5-carbon sugar 'deoxyribose', a phosphate group, and one of the nitrogenous bases. There are 4 possible nitrogenous bases: adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. DNA is a double helix structure. Its structure can be studied using the links below. DNA's function is to code for proteins. The regions of the DNA that code for proteins are called genes.

External Links


Use this site to get an overview of cells, chromosomes, and DNA. This provides a good overall perspective of where DNA is found and its basic parts.

Zoom in on Your Genome
Genetics by the Numbers - read this page to learn some nifty facts about DNA and your genes.

Use these two sites to delve deeper into the DNA molecule and answer the questions from the DNA question sheet

Exploring DNA - explore the structure of DNA using JMOL.
DNA Structure - continue your exploration of the structure of DNA with these interactive molecules (A,B,C,D). Also complete this 'Nucleic Acid and DNA Structure' and this 'DNA Structure in Biomodel-1'. For the 'Biomodel-1 (advanced)', only do the first two sections (Nucleotide Pairing and Secondary Structure).

Use these sites for more information or further clarification.

DNA and RNA Coding - this site shows the difference between the 'template' strand and the 'coding' strand.
DNA Strands - this site also explains the difference between the 'template' strand and the 'coding' strand.
DNA Replication
DNA Replication Animation #2 - another replication animation showing progressively deeper detail.

Watch the molecular model videos below to get an excellent view of how DNA replicates

Extracting DNA

How to Extract DNA from Anything - read this to see the process to extract DNA. They use peas but you can use all sorts of household food items including strawberries or untoasted wheat germ.
Extract DNA from Wheat Germ - use these directions for wheat germ. This is very easy to do at home. You can read about wheat germ and how this experiment works here
DNA Extraction FAQ - read the answers to the 20 most frequently asked questions about DNA extraction.
DNA Extraction Virtual Lab - use this site to explore how DNA is extracted from cheek cells of humans as part of a crime investigation.

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