Notes RNA and DNA
In the 1950s, monumental race in the scientific community was run between to research groups
striving for the same goal, determining the structure of DNA.
Dr. Watson and Dr. Crick head a
lab in England while Linus Pauling ran his group at Cal-Tech.
Watson and Crick where very
intimidated by Pauling, he had just won the 1954 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
They were David
and Pauling was Goliath.
Like David, Watson and Crick won.
And like David’s slaying of
Goliath, Watson and Crick used a tactic unfamiliar to Pauling.
They were not releasing their
While Pauling regularly published his findings, which Watson and Crick led them to
their structure of DNA.
They ensured the only people they spoke of about their research would
not be talking to anyone in Pauling’s group.
Yes, scientist are people too and they can play
If you don’t think they played dirty read their book, “The Double Helix” written by Dr.
James D. Watson.
For all organisms, DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, is composed of the same components.
components of DNA are sequenced a specific side-by-side arrangements termed base pairs,
along the DNA strands.
This order blueprints the exact instructions required to create a
particular organism with its own unique traits.
A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA.
Genomes vary widely in their number of base
The smallest known genome for an organism, a bacteria, contains about 600,000 base
The human genome consists of approximately 3 billion base pairs.
All the cells in a the
human body contain the genome, except for mature red blood cells.
DNA in the human genome is arranged into 24 distinct chromosomes.
22 of which are found in
all human, the last two are gender specific.
Each chromosome is a physically separate
molecule that ranges in length from roughly 50 million to 250 million base pairs.
is large enough to be viewed with an electron microscope, the figure on the left in the picture
below is a chromosome.
The chromosomes are divided into sections which determine each specific trait an organism
The genes are specific sequences of bases that encode instructions on how to make
It is estimated that there are 30 – 40 thousand genes.
Oddly, of the 3 billion base
pairs in the genome, the genes comprise only about 2%, or 60 million of the base pairs.
remaining non-coded regions functions may include structural support and the what-where-
when and number of proteins made.
DNA and genes seem to get all the publicity, but remember they are the blue prints, they don’t
actually do anything other than store information.
The proteins that the genes create are
responsible for performing most life functions.
The picture below shows an overall view of the
steps from Chromosome to DNA to gene to base pair sequence to amino acid sequence to