DNA strandWhat is DNA?

A group of cells has a function, for example to support hearing.  But how do these cells ‘know’ that their role is to support hearing instead of supporting your back?  Instructions providing all of the information necessary for a living organism to grow and live is in the nucleus of every cell. There are instructions that tell the cell what role it will play in your body.  The instructions come in the form of a molecule called DNA.  DNA encodes a detailed set of plans, like a blueprint, for building different parts of the cell.  How can a molecule hold information?  The DNA molecules come in the form of a twisted ladder shape scientists call a ‘double helix’.  The ladder’s rungs are built with the four-letter DNA alphabet A, C, T and G.  A always pairs with T, and C always pairs with G.

DNA code letters stand for:
G = Guanine
A = Adenine
T = Thymine
C = Cytosine

These four letters make up words, which then form sentences. These ‘sentences’ are called genes.  Genes tell the cell to make other molecules called proteins, and these enable cells to perform special functions.

Fact: DNA stands for DeoxyriboNucleic Acid.

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