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The Structure of DNA

Part of the Genetics For Dummies Cheat Sheet

DNA is made up of long chains of nucleotides. To make a complete DNA molecule, single nucleotides join to make chains that come together as matched pairs and form long double strands. Each nucleotide is comprised of the following:

  • A five-sided (pentose) sugar called deoxyribose

  • A phosphate

  • One of four nitrogen-rich bases: adenine, guanine, cytosine, or thymine

Nucleotides are joined together by phosphodiester bonds. Nucleotide chains are antiparallel and complementary.

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