DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a nucleic acid; it contains the genetic information necessary for RNA (ribonucleic acid) and protein biosynthesis 1.

Chemical structure

DNA is made up of two double-stranded polynucleotide chains. Each nucleotide consists of a pentose, 2-deoxy-D-ribose, to which the nitrogenous base and a phosphate group are covalently linked (N-glycosidic and phosphoester respectively). The nucleotides, in turn, are held together by "bridging" chemical bonds between the pentose molecules (phosphodiesteric chemical bond) 2-3. The two polynucleotide chains, on the other hand, are joined by hydrogen bonds (H-bonds); they are established between the complementary heterocyclic base pairs: two H-bonds between adenine (A) and thymine (T) and three H-bonds between guanine (G) and cytosine (C) 4.

Primary structure

To characterize the DNA (or a segment thereof) is the sequence of heterocyclic bases along the polynucleotide chain 2.

Secondary structure

It is basically the right-handed double helix proposed in 1953 by James D. Watson and Francis H. Crick (B-form) 3.

Article information

rID: 84787
System: Oncology
Section: Pathology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Deoxyribonucleic acid

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