- deoxyribonucleic acid
so-called DNA structure was discovered in 1953.
does that mean?
Each living matter consists of a multitude of cells. Each of these cells
has a nucleus that contains the hereditary pattern. It is possible to
analyze the tiniest details of an organism or even to manipulate the hereditary
pattern with the help of that organism's DNA structure. An exact identification
of living matter is possible with the analysis. In future, the world of
electronics will notice more frequent encounters with the abbreviation
"DNA." Scientists have even begun to develop DNA computers at this time.
During the first half of the 20th century, science mainly dealt with nuclear
physics. Those early scientists were involved in the attempt to decode
the secrets of the atom and to research the smallest parts of the universe.
scientists, James Watson and Francis Crick, discovered the DNA structure
and thus established a new branch of science known as molecular biology
in 1953. With the help of molecular biology, Watson and Crick made the
research of the latest mysteries of life and the nearly boundless manipulation
of those mysteries possible. Cloning genes, gene banks and genetic identification
was entirely inconceivable three decades ago. In the future, thanks to
the discovery of DNA, many illnesses may be cured or prevented. Certainly
this knowledge may also have disastrous consequences in the wrong hands.
structure of a cell:
Cells are the foundation of all living matter. Most of them are tiny structures
with only few thousandth of a millimeter in diameter.
human body consists of about 100,000 billion cells. These cells can just
be imagined as simple, small bags filled with different vital substances
such as proteins, nucleic acids, fats and carbohydrates, necessary for
different aspects of life. In the interior of the cell there can be found
one of the most important parts – the nucleus, without which the cell
couldn't exist. The hereditary pattern is contained here in chromosomes.
cellular components contain the genes that consist of deoxyribonucleic
acid (DNA). In a human germ cell there are 23 chromosomes; each of them
contains about 100,000 genes.
DNA has two essential properties: It stores the information needed to
build or to maintain living matter and it can replicate itself. The DNA
molecule is actually very long, although it is altogether much too small
to be seen in an optical microscope. Its structure suggests that of a
twisted rope ladder with millions of rungs. In the DNA there are only
four bases: adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C) and guanine (G). The
rungs consists of two bases per rung (either A and T or G and C). When
a DNA cord splits like a zip lengthwise, the missing half on either side
always completes a new DNA strand by corresponding to the old building
plan. The two newly built double-stranded cords look exactly like the
original one in their succession of bases. Identical cells are produced
through this cell division.
Closely related people have similar DNA band patterns, while unrelated
people have different ones. The individual bands correspond to the so-called
"cell sequences" in the DNA. Through radiation the bands are exposed onto
a film, in a process known as gel electrophoresis.
genetic fingerprints that result from the patterning of DNA bands can
be used for affiliation proceedings and for forensic medicine. Only a
small sample of blood, sperm or any other body tissue, such as a hair,
for example, is needed.
crime through DNA fingerprints began in England in 1987. To track down
a murderer, blood samples were taken from about 5000 men.
The problem of many computer users is that greater storage capacity is
increasingly necessary. Scientists are developing a DNA computer following
the biological model of the DNA molecule. Such a computer would have enormous
advantages, low energy consumption, and extremely high storage density.
One single cubic centimeter of DNA liquid would be able to store up to
a trillion giga bits. Do the math... Wow!