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DNA and RNA. DNA. To understand genetics, biologist had to learn the chemical makeup of the gene. Scientist discovered that genes are made of DNA . Scientists also found that DNA stores and transmits the genetic information from one generation of an organism to the next.

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  • To understand genetics, biologist had to learn the chemical makeup of the gene. Scientist discovered that genes are made of DNA.
  • Scientists also found that DNA stores and transmits the genetic information from one generation of an organism to the next.
  • Scientists began studying DNA structure to find out how it carries information, decides traits, and replicates itself.
  • DNA: The molecule of heredity
    • The genetic information that is held in the molecules of DNA ultimately determines an organism’s traits.
    • DNA achieves its control by producing proteins
    • Within the structure of DNA is the information for life – the complete instructions for manufacturing all the proteins for an organism.
    • DNA is a polymer made of repeating subunits called nucleotides.
    • Nucleotideshave 3 parts: a simple sugar (deoxyribose), a phosphate group, and a nitrogen base.
dna nucleotides and base pairing
DNA Nucleotides And Base Pairing
  • In DNA there are 4 possible nitrogen bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T).
  • Adenine and guanine are double-ring bases called purines.
  • Thymine and cytosine are smaller, single-ring bases called pyrimidines.
  • In DNA: adenine = thymine and guanine = cytosine
  • In each chain of nucleotides, the sugar of one nucleotide is joined to the phosphate group of the next nucleotide by a covalent bond.
dna nucleotides
DNA Nucleotides







Phosphate group


dna double helix
DNA Double Helix
  • In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick made a 3-D model of DNA. Their model was a double helix, in which two strands were wound around each other.
    • A double helix is like a twisted ladder.
    • Sugars and phosphates make up the sides of the ladder.
    • Hydrogen bonds between the bases hold the strands together.
    • Bonds form only between certain base pairs: between adenine and thymine, and between guanine and cytosine. This is called base pairing.
chromosomes and dna replication
Chromosomes and DNA Replication
  • Most prokaryotes have one large DNA molecule in their cytoplasm.
  • Eukaryotes have DNA in chromosomes in their nuclei.
chromosome structure
Chromosome Structure
  • Eukaryotic chromosomes contain both DNA and protein, tightly packed together to form a substance called chromatin.
  • Chromatin consists of DNA that is tightly coiled around proteins called histones.
  • Together, the DNA and histone molecules form a beadlike structure called a nucleosome. Nucleosomes pack with one another to form a thick fiber, which is shortened by a system of loops and coils

Chromosome Structure of Eukaryotes









dna replication
DNA Replication
  • Before a cell divides, it copies its DNA in a process called replication. During DNA replication,
    • The DNA molecule separates into two strands. Each new strand of the DNA molecule serves as a model for the new strand.
    • Following the rules of basic pairing, new bases are added to each strand. For example, if the base on the original strand is adenine, thymine is added to the newly forming strand. Likewise cytosine is always added to guanine.
    • The end result is two identical strands.
how dna replication occurs
How DNA Replication Occurs
  • DNA replication is carried out by a series of enzymes. These enzymes “unzip” a molecule of DNA.
  • The unzipping occurs when the hydrogen bonds between the base pairs are broken and the two strands of the molecule unwind.
  • Each strand serves as a template for the attachment of complementary bases.
  • DNA polymerase is the principal enzyme involved in DNA replication, because it joins individual nucleotides to produce a DNA molecule.
dna replication1
DNA Replication

Original strand

DNA polymerase

New strand


DNA polymerase


Replication fork

Replication fork

Nitrogenous bases

New strand

Original strand

rna a nd protein synthesis
RNA And Protein Synthesis
  • Structure of RNA
  • For a gene to work, the genetic instructions in the DNA molecule must be decoded.
  • The first step is to copy the DNA sequence into RNA. RNA is a molecule which contains instructions for making proteins.
  • RNA is similar to DNA, except for 3 differences
    • The sugar in RNA is ribose instead of deoxyribose.
    • RNA is single-stranded.
    • RNA has uracil in place of thymine.
types of rna
Types Of RNA
  • Most RNA molecules are involved in making proteins. There are three main kinds of RNA.
    • Messenger RNA has the instructions for joining amino acids to make proteins.
    • Proteins are assembled on ribosomes. Ribosomes are made up of proteins and ribosomal RNA.
    • Transfer RNA carries each amino acids to the ribosome according to the coded message in messenger RNA.
types of rna1

Messenger RNA

Ribosomal RNA

Transfer RNA

Bringamino acids toribosome


with proteins



Carry instructions





Types Of RNA


can be

also called

which functions to

also called

which functions to

also called

which functions to



to make up

  • RNA is copied from DNA in a process called transcription.
  • During Transcription
    • The enzyme RNA polymerase binds to DNA and separates the 2 DNA strands.
    • RNA polymerase builds a strand of RNA using one strand of DNA as the template.
    • The DNA is transcribed into RNA following base-pairing rules except that uracil binds to adenine.
the genetic code
The Genetic Code
  • The directions for making proteins are in the order of the four nitrogenous bases.
  • This code is read three letters at a time.
  • Each codon, or group of three nucleotides, stands for an amino acid.
  • Some amino acids are specified by more than one codon.
  • One codon is a start signal for translation.
  • Three codons signal the end of a protein.
rna translation
RNA Translation
  • Translation is the process in which the cell uses information from messenger RNA to make proteins. Translation takes place on ribosomes.
    • Before translation can begin, messenger RNA is transcribed from DNA
    • The messenger RNA moves into the cytoplasm and attaches to a ribosome.
    • As each codon of the messenger RNA moves through the ribosome, the proper amino acid is brought into the ribosome by transfer RNA. The ribosome joins together each amino acid. In this way, the protein chain grows.
  • When the ribosome reaches a stop codon, it releases the newly formed polypepetide and the process of translation is complete.
  • Mutationsare mistakes made when cells copy their own DNA.
  • Mutations are changes in the genetic material of a cell.
  • 2 types of mutations (gene and chromosome mutations)
gene mutations
Gene Mutations
  • Gene mutations are changes in a single gene.
    • A point mutation occurs at a single point in the DNA sequence of a gene. When a point mutation causes one base to replace another, only one amino acid is affected.
    • If a nucleotide is added or removed, it causes a frameshift mutation. All the groupings of codons are changed. This can cause the gene to make a completely different protein.
chromosomal mutations
Chromosomal Mutations
  • In a chromosomal mutation, there is a change in the number of the structure of chromosomes. There are four kinds of chromosomal mutations.
    • Deletions: involve the loss of all or part of a chromosome
    • Duplications: produce extra copies of parts of a chromosome
    • Inversions: reverse the direction of parts of chromosomes.
    • Translocations: occur when part of one chromosome breaks off and attaches to another
chromosomal mutations1
Chromosomal Mutations





gene regulation
Gene Regulation
  • Genes can be turned on and off as different proteins are needed.
  • In prokaryotes, some genes are turned on and off by a chromosome section called an operon. An operon is a group of genes that work, or operate, together.
    • Ex. In bacteria, one operon controls whether the organism can use the sugar lactose as food. It is called the lac operon. The lac genes are turned off by repressors and turned on by the presence of lactose.
gene regulation1
Gene Regulation
  • Operators and promoters are DNA sequences in the operon that control when genes are turned on and off.
    • When the cell needs a certain protein, RNA polymerase attaches to the promoter and makes a messenger RNA that is translated into the needed protein.
    • When the cell no longer needs the protein, it makes another protein called the repressor. The repressor attaches to the operator. This blocks the promoter so RNA polymerase cannot attach to it. This turns the genes of the operon off.
gene regulation2
Gene Regulation
  • Most eukaryotic genes are controlled individually and have regulatory sequences that are much more complex than those of the lac operon.
  • In eukaryotes, genes are regulated by enhancer sequences located before the point at which transcription begins
  • Some proteins can bind directly to these DNA sequences.
  • Ways in which these proteins affect transcription include:
    • Increasing the transcription of certain genes
    • attracting RNA polymerase
    • blocking access to genes
typical gene structure
Typical Gene Structure

Promoter(RNA polymerase binding site)

Regulatory sites

DNA strand

Start transcription

Stop transcription

cell differentiation
Cell Differentiation
  • Differentiation: process in which cells become specialized in structure and function. (takes place during embryonic development)
  • Hox Genes: series of genes that controls the differentiation of cells and tissues in an embryo.