The structure of the DNA double helix. The atoms in the structure are colour-coded by element and the detailed structures of two base pairs are shown in the bottom right.
Depiction of the adenine–thymine Watson–Crick base pair
Chemical structure of DNA; hydrogen bonds shown as dotted lines. Each end of the double helix has an exposed 5' phosphate on one strand and an exposed 3' hydroxyl group (—OH) on the other.
A section of DNA. The bases lie horizontally between the two spiraling strands ([[:File:DNA orbit animated.gif|animated version]]).
DNA major and minor grooves. The latter is a binding site for the Hoechst stain dye 33258.
From left to right, the structures of A, B and Z DNA
DNA quadruplex formed by telomere repeats. The looped conformation of the DNA backbone is very different from the typical DNA helix. The green spheres in the center represent potassium ions.
A covalent adduct between a metabolically activated form of benzo[a]pyrene, the major mutagen in tobacco smoke, and DNA
Location of eukaryote nuclear DNA within the chromosomes
T7 RNA polymerase (blue) producing an mRNA (green) from a DNA template (orange)
DNA replication: The double helix is unwound by a helicase and topo­iso­merase. Next, one DNA polymerase produces the leading strand copy. Another DNA polymerase binds to the lagging strand. This enzyme makes discontinuous segments (called Okazaki fragments) before DNA ligase joins them together.
Interaction of DNA (in orange) with histones (in blue). These proteins' basic amino acids bind to the acidic phosphate groups on DNA.
The lambda repressor helix-turn-helix transcription factor bound to its DNA target
The restriction enzyme EcoRV (green) in a complex with its substrate DNA
Recombination involves the breaking and rejoining of two chromosomes (M and F) to produce two rearranged chromosomes (C1 and C2).
The DNA structure at left (schematic shown) will self-assemble into the structure visualized by atomic force microscopy at right. DNA nanotechnology is the field that seeks to design nanoscale structures using the molecular recognition properties of DNA molecules.
Maclyn McCarty (left) shakes hands with Francis Crick and James Watson, co-originators of the double-helix model.
Pencil sketch of the DNA double helix by Francis Crick in 1953
A blue plaque outside The Eagle pub commemorating Crick and Watson

They form the building blocks of the DNA double helix and contribute to the folded structure of both DNA and RNA.

- Base pair

The nitrogenous bases of the two separate polynucleotide strands are bound together, according to base pairing rules (A with T and C with G), with hydrogen bonds to make double-stranded DNA.

- DNA
The structure of the DNA double helix. The atoms in the structure are colour-coded by element and the detailed structures of two base pairs are shown in the bottom right.

27 related topics

Alpha

Base pairing: Two base pairs are produced by four nucleotide monomers, nucleobases are in blue. Guanine (G) is paired with cytosine (C) via three hydrogen bonds, in red. Adenine (A) is paired with uracil (U) via two hydrogen bonds, in red.

Nucleobase

Nucleobases, also known as nitrogenous bases or often simply bases, are nitrogen-containing biological compounds that form nucleosides, which, in turn, are components of nucleotides, with all of these monomers constituting the basic building blocks of nucleic acids.

Nucleobases, also known as nitrogenous bases or often simply bases, are nitrogen-containing biological compounds that form nucleosides, which, in turn, are components of nucleotides, with all of these monomers constituting the basic building blocks of nucleic acids.

Base pairing: Two base pairs are produced by four nucleotide monomers, nucleobases are in blue. Guanine (G) is paired with cytosine (C) via three hydrogen bonds, in red. Adenine (A) is paired with uracil (U) via two hydrogen bonds, in red.
Purine nucleobases are fused-ring molecules.
Pyrimidine nucleobases are simple ring molecules.
Chemical structure of DNA, showing four nucleobase pairs produced by eight nucleotides: adenine (A) is joined to thymine (T), and guanine (G) is joined to cytosine (C). + This structure also shows the directionality of each of the two phosphate-deoxyribose backbones, or strands. The 5' to 3' (read "5 prime to 3 prime") directions are: down the strand on the left, and up the strand on the right. The strands twist around each other to form a double helix structure.

The ability of nucleobases to form base pairs and to stack one upon another leads directly to long-chain helical structures such as ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

Nucleic acids RNA (left) and DNA (right).

Nucleic acid

Nucleic acids are biopolymers, macromolecules, essential to all known forms of life.

Nucleic acids are biopolymers, macromolecules, essential to all known forms of life.

Nucleic acids RNA (left) and DNA (right).
The Swiss scientist Friedrich Miescher discovered nucleic acid first naming it as nuclein, in 1868. Later, he raised the idea that it could be involved in heredity.

The two main classes of nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).

Using amino acids and the process known as protein synthesis, the specific sequencing in DNA of these nucleobase-pairs enables storing and transmitting coded instructions as genes.

Base pairing: Two base pairs are produced by four nucleotide monomers, nucleobases are in blue. Guanine (G) is paired with cytosine (C) via three hydrogen bonds, in red. Adenine (A) is paired with uracil (U) via two hydrogen bonds, in red.

Cytosine

Base pairing: Two base pairs are produced by four nucleotide monomers, nucleobases are in blue. Guanine (G) is paired with cytosine (C) via three hydrogen bonds, in red. Adenine (A) is paired with uracil (U) via two hydrogen bonds, in red.

Cytosine (symbol C or Cyt) is one of the four nucleobases found in DNA and RNA, along with adenine, guanine, and thymine (uracil in RNA).

In Watson-Crick base pairing, it forms three hydrogen bonds with guanine.

Base pairing: Two base pairs are produced by four nucleotide monomers, nucleobases are in blue. Guanine (G) is paired with cytosine (C) via three hydrogen bonds, in red. Adenine (A) is paired with uracil (U) via two hydrogen bonds, in red.

Thymine

Base pairing: Two base pairs are produced by four nucleotide monomers, nucleobases are in blue. Guanine (G) is paired with cytosine (C) via three hydrogen bonds, in red. Adenine (A) is paired with uracil (U) via two hydrogen bonds, in red.

Thymine (symbol T or Thy) is one of the four nucleobases in the nucleic acid of DNA that are represented by the letters G–C–A–T.

The mutations caused by thymine deficiency appear to occur only at AT base pair sites in DNA and are often AT to GC transition mutations.

Chemical structure of RNA

Nucleic acid sequence

Chemical structure of RNA
A series of codons in part of a mRNA molecule. Each codon consists of three nucleotides, usually representing a single amino acid.
A depiction of the genetic code, by which the information contained in nucleic acids are translated into amino acid sequences in proteins.
Electropherogram printout from automated sequencer for determining part of a DNA sequence
Genetic sequence in digital format.

A nucleic acid sequence is a succession of bases signified by a series of a set of five different letters that indicate the order of nucleotides forming alleles within a DNA (using GACT) or RNA (GACU) molecule.

The nucleobases are important in base pairing of strands to form higher-level secondary and tertiary structure such as the famed double helix.

Chemical structure of uridine

Uracil

One of the four nucleobases in the nucleic acid RNA that are represented by the letters A, G, C and U. The others are adenine (A), cytosine (C), and guanine (G).

One of the four nucleobases in the nucleic acid RNA that are represented by the letters A, G, C and U. The others are adenine (A), cytosine (C), and guanine (G).

Chemical structure of uridine

In DNA, the uracil nucleobase is replaced by thymine.

In RNA, uracil base-pairs with adenine and replaces thymine during DNA transcription.

Diagram of a replicated and condensed metaphase eukaryotic chromosome. (1) Chromatid – one of the two identical parts of the chromosome after S phase. (2) Centromere – the point where the two chromatids touch. (3) Short arm (p). (4) Long arm (q).

Chromosome

Diagram of a replicated and condensed metaphase eukaryotic chromosome. (1) Chromatid – one of the two identical parts of the chromosome after S phase. (2) Centromere – the point where the two chromatids touch. (3) Short arm (p). (4) Long arm (q).
Organization of DNA in a eukaryotic cell
The major structures in DNA compaction: DNA, the nucleosome, the 10 nm "beads-on-a-string" fibre, the 30 nm fibre and the metaphase chromosome.
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Human chromosomes during metaphase
Stages of early mitosis in a vertebrate cell with micrographs of chromatids
The 23 human chromosome territories during prometaphase in fibroblast cells
Karyogram of a human male
In Down syndrome, there are three copies of chromosome 21.

A chromosome is a long DNA molecule with part or all of the genetic material of an organism.

The chromosomes of most bacteria, which some authors prefer to call genophores, can range in size from only 130,000 base pairs in the endosymbiotic bacteria Candidatus Hodgkinia cicadicola and Candidatus Tremblaya princeps, to more than 14,000,000 base pairs in the soil-dwelling bacterium Sorangium cellulosum.

DNA replication: The double helix is un'zipped' and unwound, then each separated strand (turquoise) acts as a template for replicating a new partner strand (green). Nucleotides (bases) are matched to synthesize the new partner strands into two new double helices.

DNA replication

DNA replication: The double helix is un'zipped' and unwound, then each separated strand (turquoise) acts as a template for replicating a new partner strand (green). Nucleotides (bases) are matched to synthesize the new partner strands into two new double helices.
DNA polymerases adds nucleotides to the 3′ end of a strand of DNA. If a mismatch is accidentally incorporated, the polymerase is inhibited from further extension. Proofreading removes the mismatched nucleotide and extension continues.
Overview of the steps in DNA replication
Steps in DNA synthesis
Role of initiators for initiation of DNA replication.
Formation of pre-replication complex.
Scheme of the replication fork.
a: template, b: leading strand, c: lagging strand, d: replication fork, e: primer, f: Okazaki fragments
Many enzymes are involved in the DNA replication fork.
The assembled human DNA clamp, a trimer of the protein PCNA.
E. coli Replisome. Notably, the DNA on lagging strand forms a loop. The exact structure of replisome is not well understood.
The cell cycle of eukaryotic cells.
Dam methylates adenine of GATC sites after replication.
Replication fork restarts by homologous recombination following replication stress
Epigenetic consequences of nucleosome reassembly defects at stalled replication forks

In molecular biology, DNA replication is the biological process of producing two identical replicas of DNA from one original DNA molecule.

Nucleobases are matched between strands through hydrogen bonds to form base pairs.

A furanose (sugar-ring) molecule with carbon atoms labeled using standard notation. The 5′ is upstream; the 3′ is downstream. DNA and RNA are synthesized in the 5′-to-3′ direction.

Directionality (molecular biology)

End-to-end chemical orientation of a single strand of nucleic acid.

End-to-end chemical orientation of a single strand of nucleic acid.

A furanose (sugar-ring) molecule with carbon atoms labeled using standard notation. The 5′ is upstream; the 3′ is downstream. DNA and RNA are synthesized in the 5′-to-3′ direction.
In the DNA segment shown, the 5′ to 3′ directions are down the left strand and up the right strand
Phosphodiester bonds (circled) between nucleotides

In a single strand of DNA or RNA, the chemical convention of naming carbon atoms in the nucleotide pentose-sugar-ring means that there will be a 5′ end (usually pronounced "five-prime end"), which frequently contains a phosphate group attached to the 5′ carbon of the ribose ring, and a 3′ end (usually pronounced "three-prime end"), which typically is unmodified from the ribose -OH substituent.

In a DNA double helix, the strands run in opposite directions to permit base pairing between them, which is essential for replication or transcription of the encoded information.

Simplified diagram of mRNA synthesis and processing. Enzymes not shown.

Transcription (biology)

Process of copying a segment of DNA into RNA.

Process of copying a segment of DNA into RNA.

Simplified diagram of mRNA synthesis and processing. Enzymes not shown.
Regulation of transcription in mammals. An active enhancer regulatory region of DNA is enabled to interact with the promoter DNA region of its target gene by formation of a chromosome loop. This can initiate messenger RNA (mRNA) synthesis by RNA polymerase II (RNAP II) bound to the promoter at the transcription start site of the gene.  The loop is stabilized by one architectural protein anchored to the enhancer and one anchored to the promoter and these proteins are joined to form a dimer (red zigzags).  Specific regulatory transcription factors bind to DNA sequence motifs on the enhancer.  General transcription factors bind to the promoter.  When a transcription factor is activated by a signal (here indicated as phosphorylation shown by a small red star on a transcription factor on the enhancer) the enhancer is activated and can now activate its target promoter.  The active enhancer is transcribed on each strand of DNA in opposite directions by bound RNAP IIs.  Mediator (a complex consisting of about 26 proteins in an interacting structure) communicates regulatory signals from the enhancer DNA-bound transcription factors to the promoter.
This shows where the methyl group is added when 5-methylcytosine is formed
Simple diagram of transcription elongation
Image showing RNA polymerase interacting with different factors and DNA during transcription, especially CTD (C Terminal Domain)
The Image shows how CTD is carrying protein for further changes in the RNA
Electron micrograph of transcription of ribosomal RNA. The forming ribosomal RNA strands are visible as branches from the main DNA strand.
Scheme of reverse transcription

Both DNA and RNA are nucleic acids, which use base pairs of nucleotides as a complementary language.

5-methylcytosine (5-mC) is a methylated form of the DNA base cytosine (see Figure).