Breaking Down What Makes Life Up (Intro to DNA)


DNA is an acronym that we give to deoxyribonucleic acid.  This molecule is made of a sugar-Image result for DNAphosphate backbone and nitrogenous bases.

    • Vocabulary:
      • Genes– these are parts of DNA (or RNA in some viruses) that code for a functional product.
      • Chromosomes– structures that are made of DNA and proteins, these contain the genes.
      • Genome– whole genetic makeup of a eukaryotic organism.
      • Genetics– the study of heredity or passing down of traits.
  • Genotype and Phenotype: Genes carry the blueprints for information. These genes are replicated and are passed down to offspring. These genes can also be passed from one organism to another through horizontal gene transfer. Genes are expressed within an organism to determine characteristics through the production or proteins later in translation.
    • Genotype– genetic makeup that codes for a characteristic, this represents potential properties of the organism.
    • Phenotype– these are the actually expressed properties of the organism from the genes. Most phenotypes are the presence of proteins.
  • Image result for plasmidDNA and chromosomes:
    • Bacteria typically have a circular chromosome along with proteins and RNA.
      • Plasmids are small, circular pieces of DNA that replicate independently from DNA. They carry genetic information required for their own replication and each usually controls one or more cellular traits. They aren’t needed for cellular metabolism, growth, or reproduction. They can contribute to survival advantages.
      • Plasmids are separated into types based on the kinds of things they code for:
        • Fertility factors (Conjugation Pili)
        • Resistance factors (Antibiotic resistance)
        • Bacteriocin Factors (Antibiotics that it can make to fend off other bacteria)
        • Virulence Factors (Makes it more pathological i.e slipperiness to get away from white blood cells trying to save you)
        • Cryptic Factors (Ones we do not know the function of)
    • Eukaryotic Genomes are contained in two structures:Image result for dna
      • Nuclear DNA– Eukaryotes typically have more than one chromosome per cell. The chromosomes are linear and sequestered inside the nucleus (absent from Prokaryotes). 95% of these genes code for RNA and proteins.
      • Extracellular DNA– DNA in the mitochondria and chloroplasts are circular like Prokaryote DNA. This codes for the remaining 5% of RNA and proteins.

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