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Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a macromolecule (one of the three main ones, the other two are RNA and proteins), providing storage, transmission from generation to generation, and implementation of a genetic program. DNA contains information about the structure of various types of RNA and proteins.
In eukaryotic cells (animals, plants, and fungi), the deoxyribonucleic acid is located in the cell’s nucleus as a part of chromosomes, as well as in some cellular organelles (mitochondria and plastids). In cells of prokaryotic organisms (bacteria and archaea), a circular or linear DNA molecule, the so-called nucleoid, is attached to the cell membrane from the inside. They and lower eukaryotes (for example, yeast) also have small autonomous, mainly circular deoxyribonucleic acid molecules called plasmids. In addition, single- or double-stranded the deoxyribonucleic acid molecules can form the genome of DNA-containing viruses.
From a chemical point of view, the deoxyribonucleic acid is a long polymer molecule consisting of repetitive nucleotide blocks. Each nucleotide consists of a nitrogenous base, sugar (deoxyribose) and a phosphate group. The bonds between the nucleotides in the chains are formed by deoxyribose and the phosphate group (phosphodiester bonds). In the overwhelming majority of cases, the DNA macromolecule consists of two chains oriented by nitrogen bases to each other. This double-stranded molecule is twisted in a helix. In general, the structure of the DNA molecule has received the traditional, but the erroneous name of the “double helix”, in fact, it is a “double-screw”.