The Building Blocks of DNA

In this module, we'll explore the molecular structure of DNA. What is DNA? What are the basic building blocks of DNA? Where can you find DNA within a cell? We'll learn about how James Watson and Francis Crick were able to solve the riddle of the molecular structure of DNA by building on the work of other scientists. Their groundbreaking discovery revealed that four nucleobases (adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine) combine with sugar and phosphate molecules to form the familiar double helix of DNA. We'll take a look at how the molecular structure of DNA regulates its functions; for example, how the chemical bonds (covalent and noncovalent) between these molecules allow DNA to "unzip" during replication. Then we'll take a look at how you manage to fit over three billion base pairs into each of your cells. (Here's a hint: Histones, nucleosomes, and chromosomes would be great at packing for a trip!)

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