- DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the molecule that contains the instructions for growth and development of all organisms
- It consists of two strands of DNA wound around each other in what is called a double helix
- The individual units of DNA are called nucleotides
- All nucleotides contain the same phosphate and deoxyribose sugar, but differ from each other in the base attached
- There are four different bases, Adenine (A), Cytosine (C), Thymine (T) and Guanine (G)
- The bases on each strand pair up with each other, holding the two strands of DNA in the double helix
- The bases always pair up in the same way:
- Adenine always pairs with Thymine (A-T)
- Cytosine always pairs with Guanine (C-G)
- The phosphate and sugar section of the nucleotides form the ‘backbone’ of the DNA strand (like the sides of a ladder) and the base pairs of each strand connect to form the rungs of the ladder
- It is this sequence of bases that holds the code for the formation of proteins
You do not need to learn the names of the bases, just their letter.
Make sure you know which bonds with which, as this is the most commonly asked question about this topic.