Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
Wold, Marc S. Department of Biochemistry, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa.
Rich, Alexander Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Weeks, Daniel Department of Biochemistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
Lutter, Leonard C. Molecular Biology Research Program, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan.
Last reviewed:October 2016
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- Genetic variation
- Recombinant technology
- In the cell
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A linear polymer made up of a specific sequence of deoxyribonucleotide repeating units linked by 3′,5′-phosphodiester bonds and acting as the carrier of genetic information. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) [Fig. 1] is the common structure that forms the basic building blocks of life. The set of DNA molecules that contains all genetic information for an organism is called its genome. DNA is found primarily in the nuclei of eukaryotic cells and in the nucleoid of bacteria. Small amounts of DNA are also found in organelles [including mitochondria and cell plastids (chloroplasts)] that contain their own genomes, in autonomously maintained DNAs called plasmids, and in viruses. See also: Cell nucleus; Genetic code; Genetics; Genomics; Nucleic acid; Plasmid
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