1944, abbreviation of deoxyribonucleic acid (1931).
deoxyribonucleic acid de·ox·y·ri·bo·nu·cle·ic acid (dē-ŏk'sē-rī'bō-nōō-klē'ĭk, -klā'-, -nyōō-)
Deoxyribonucleic acid; a nucleic acid that consists of two long chains of nucleotides twisted together into a double helix and joined by hydrogen bonds between complementary bases adenine and thymine or cytosine and guanine; it carries the cell's genetic information and hereditary characteristics via its nucleotides and their sequence and is capable of self-replication and RNA synthesis.
|deoxyribonucleic acid |
Short for deoxyribonucleic acid. The nucleic acid that is the genetic material determining the makeup of all living cells and many viruses. It consists of two long strands of nucleotides linked together in a structure resembling a ladder twisted into a spiral. In eukaryotic cells, the DNA is contained in the nucleus (where it is bound to proteins known as histones) and in mitochondria and chloroplasts. In the presence of the enzyme DNA polymerase and appropriate nucleotides, DNA can replicate itself. DNA also serves as a template for the synthesis of RNA in the presence of RNA polymerase. Compare RNA. See Note at histone.
The molecule that carries genetic information in all living systems (see genetic code). The DNA molecule is formed in the shape of a double helix from a great number of smaller molecules (see nucleotides). The workings of the DNA molecule provide the most fundamental explanation of the laws of genetics.
DNA acts in three important way. First, when a cell divides, the DNA uncoils, and each strand creates a new partner from the surrounding material — a process called replication. The two cells that result from the cell division have the same DNA as the original (see mitosis). Second, in sexual reproduction, each parent contributes one of the two strands in the DNA of the offspring. Third, inside the cell, the DNA governs the production of proteins and other molecules essential to cell function.