What Exactly Is DNA Made Up Of?

Lisa R. Parker


Have you ever asked yourself the question why my eyes are this color? Or any question as to why we look the way we do. All our features come down to our genetics. Those genetics are family traits that are passed down through our bloodlines. It all comes down to what is considered the fundamental building blocks of life, DNA is the basic substance in the life forms you see around you, yet it is a complicated concept. Your DNA determines the color of your eyes, skin, hair and enable functions such as your sight and hearing. DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid which contains the biological aspects that make everyone individually different. DNA is all contained in one molecule, and there are millions of tightly packaged DNA cells all throughout many life forms making it the building block of the DNA. DNA. We have all heard of DNA for years, but what do you really know about it. What is DNA made of? In this paper, we will talk about this mini miracle called DNA.

Like any good story, we need to start at the beginning. DNA was discovered in 1868 by a Swiss medical student named Johann Friedrich Miescher. Miescher was working with pus from a surgical would, where he was investigating the white blood cells. It was in these white blood cells that he found the instruction booklet for making us who we are. It is important to note that DNA is in every living being. Even though Miescher discovered DNA in 1868, it would be over 80 more years before DNA was considered actual genetic material. After Miescher found DNA, the medical and scientific communities of that era felt that DNA was too simple to be genetic material. They would further discover that DNA is a long complex polymer made from repeating nucleotide.

So, complex and long in fact that it has been recorded that a humans chromosome number one is 85 nanometers long and contains 220 million base pairs. The double helix DNA structure is made from alternating sugar and phosphate bonds. Holding these sugar and phosphate bonds together is hydrogen. Earlier we mentioned that in early DNA discovery it was considered too simple to be actually viable genetic material. This was thought due to the four base materials that are found in all DNA. These are adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine with these four bases attached to the sugar/phosphate they form the complete nucleotide. This is just a brief definition on what single handedly is the three most important letters of existence, DNA.

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