Structure and function of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)

The structure and function of DNA: a human with a magnifying glass showing a cell.  The cell is then magnified to show a chromosome, which is magnified to show the DNA strand.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the information-carrying molecule found in all living organisms. In most animal, plant and fungal cells DNA is stored in the nucleus coiled up in thread-like structures called chromosomes.

The nucleus of one of your skin cells contains about two metres of DNA, so a chromosome is a very large molecule compacted into a very small space.

Watch the video below to see how DNA can be extracted from a strawberry.

Procedure for extracting DNA from a strawberry

The information DNA contains is the instructions that the cell uses to make proteins. Proteins play a big part in determining the characteristics of specialised cells and whole organisms.

Your eye colour, muscle mass, height and even your ability to learn new skills all result from the activity of specific proteins.