The Chemistry of DNA


DNA, short for deoxyribonucleic acid, is the basic genetic material for everything. It is what makes you you and me me. Without DNA, we would all be nothing but clones of each other and there would be no genetic diversity. Therefore, DNA is a very important component of life in general and plays a vital role in all of our lives. Thus, my goal for this site is not only to teach viewers about DNA, but to present the information in a way that makes it easier to understand and maybe even entertaining.

Composition of ...

DNA is mainly composed of polynucleotides. Polynucleotides contain the even smaller nucleotides, which are the building blocks of each strand of DNA. There are four different bases that make up each nucleotide: Adenine(C5H5N5), Guanine(C5H5N5O), Cytosine(C4H5N3O), and Thymine(C5H5N2O2). Also, each nucleotide contains a phosphate(PO4) and two deoxyribose(sugar, C5H9O4).

Chemistry's Role

DNA is naturally occurring. Every living thing, from a prokaryotic cell of bacteria to a komodo dragon, has different DNA. DNA strands are held together by hydrogen bonds. It’s backbone consists of two parts: a phosphate group (PO4+) attached to a carbon atom and a hydroxyl ion (OH-) attached to another carbon atom. Because the two have opposite charges, the strands arrange themselves in a double helix shape and always face opposite of each other.


About the Author

Katrina Asbell is a junior in high school at Billings Senior High School in Billings, MT. She enjoys hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, and being with her three dogs Brutus, Rufus, and Winston. She also enjoys mathematics and biology as well as environmental science. She plans to study either criminal justice at the University of Wyoming or to double major in criminology and wildlife conservation management/forestry at the University of Montana in Missoula.