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Explanation of Chemical Components of DNA

DNA is a nucleic acid. In simpler life forms, it resides within the cytoplasm of any given cell, however, within more complex organisms, (humans in particular) it resides within the nucleus of the cell itself.

The main structural component of the DNA macromolecule, is the two long, intertwining polymers made up of smaller, simpler units known as nucleotides. The nucleotides themselves are created out of a simple nitrogenous base, chemically bound with sugars and phosphate groups joined together by a type of connection known as the ' ester' bond.
Phosphodiester Bond

The two long intertwining polymers are joined together, at the sugar molecules of the nucleotides, by four separate types of molecules known as ' bases' in the DNA sequence. These bases, chemically known as: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T), or more specifically, the ordering of these bases is what functionally determines the nature of the genetic code specified by the DNA molecule.

The bases themselves are classified into two groups known as purines ( adenine and guanine) and pyrimidines ( cytosine and thymine). Albeit slightly on a different note, RNA ( RiboNucleic Acid) incorporates a fifth base known as uracil (U) which takes the place of thymine within the functional RNA structure.

The DNA polymer chains are held together when the bases attached to the sugar groups of the nucleotides are bound together by hydrogen connections, known as base pairing. In simple terms, a guanine molecule will bind with a cytosine molecule (using three hydrogen bonds) and an adenine molecule will bind with a thymine molecule using two hydrogen bonds.

DNA Base Connections

Bases located on either one of the two polymer chains within any given DNA macromolecule will join with appropriate bases on the other chain, thus providing cohesion and even 'information storage' (as will be discussed later on in the site).

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