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What is DNA?

Biology | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod

What does DNA stand for?

DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA is the most important code in our body as it acts like an instruction manual telling our bodies how to develop and function.

Our bodies are made up of millions and trillions of cells. These cells are so tiny that they cannot be seen with a naked eye. Every cell has special functions to do like some cells help us hear, some help us digest food, some help us carry oxygen etc. Our body contains over 200 different types of cells. But how do cells know what to do? The special molecule called DNA tells each cell what they are supposed to do.

What makes DNA?

A Nucleic Acid made up of strings known as nucleotides which are bounded with each other.

Holding these nucleotides together is a backbone made of phosphate and deoxyribose.

Where is DNA found?

DNA is present in every cell of every living being. It is found in structures of every cell called chromosomes. Chromosomes work with nucleic acids in the cell to build proteins and help in duplication or when a cell divides.

What does DNA look like?

DNA is like a spiral ladder. Each piece of DNA has two long strands/ chains that twist around each other. This spiral and twisted shape is known as the double helix. The long chains are nucleotides which are of four types- adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C) and guanine (G). These four are also known as ‘bases’. These bases form special rungs. They are like a jigsaw puzzle and only fit with their partners. A and T always go together while C and G fit together.

How does DNA work?

The 4 letters of the DNA make up words or codons that are always three letters long. These 4 chemicals are repeated in different orders over and over again in each strand of DNA.

ATG CGT GGT CAG

These words make up sentences which the cells can understand. These sentences are called genes and are genetic codes. Each sentence tells the cells to make a special molecule called a protein that controls everything in the cell. The proteins help the cells to do their functions, to grow and to survive. The difference in these proteins is what makes two living things different from each other.

Looking for more biology articles and videos? Go to: Biology for Kids.

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