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What is DNA?

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the genetic material of the cell.

DNA contains the instructions for a cell development and function. Everyone, except identical twins, has different DNA. However, the basic structure is the same for most living organisms.

DNA is a large polymer (repeating subunits) formed from long chains of nucleotides. The sequence of nucleotides in DNA forms the blueprint of the cell.

If the DNA in a single human cell was stretched out, it would be over 2 metres long!

The DNA molecule actually consists of two separate strands. These strands (shown in green) wrap around each other. This structure is called a double helix.

The structure of DNA was discovered by Francis Crick and James Watson in 1953. This discovery revolutionised biology!