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What is the genome made of?

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Genomes are composed of DNA, and a knowledge of the structure of DNA is essential to understand how it can function as hereditary material. DNA is remarkable, breathtakingly simple in its structure yet capable of directing all the living processes in a cell, the production of new cells and the development of a fertilized egg to an individual adult. DNA has three key properties: it is relatively stable; its structure suggests an obvious way in which the molecule can be duplicated, or replicated; and it carries a store of vital information that is used in the cell to produce proteins. The first two properties of DNA are analysed in this free course, What is the genome made of?

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the basic composition and structure of DNA
  • understand what is meant by complementary DNA base pairing
  • understand how base pairing allows a mechanism for DNA replication
  • understand the number of DNA molecules within a chromosome.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 4 hours
  • Updated Thursday 24th March 2016
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under Biology
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What is the genome made of?

Introduction

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Genomes are composed of DNA, and a knowledge of the structure of DNA is essential to understand how it can function as hereditary material. DNA is remarkable, breathtakingly simple in its structure yet capable of directing all the living processes in a cell, the production of new cells and the development of a fertilized egg to an individual adult.

DNA has three key properties: it is relatively stable; its structure suggests an obvious way in which the molecule can be duplicated, or replicated; and it carries a store of vital information that is used in the cell to produce proteins. The first two properties of DNA are analysed in this course.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 1 study in Science [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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