Chemical Basis of Heredity
Chemical Basis of Inheritance
- The chemical basis of inheritance refers to the molecular processes involved in passing genetic information from one generation to the next.
- It primarily involves the study of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) and its role in storing and transmitting genetic information.
- It consists of a sequence of nucleotides, which are composed of a sugar (deoxyribose), a phosphate group, and one of four nitrogenous bases: adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G).
DNA is the chemical basis of inheritance because of its unique combination of properties that make it well-suited to store and transmit genetic information:
1. Stability: DNA is a stable molecule that can persist for long periods without degradation, which is crucial for passing genetic information from one generation to the next.
2. Replication: DNA can replicate itself accurately during cell division, ensuring that genetic information is faithfully copied and transmitted to daughter cells.
4. Variability: While DNA provides a stable template for inheritance, it also allows for genetic variability through mutations. Mutations are changes in the DNA sequence that can introduce new traits and drive evolution.
5. Complementarity: The base-pairing rules in DNA (A with T, C with G) ensure that the genetic code is self-complementary. This property allows for the accurate and specific pairing of DNA strands during replication and repair.
6. Universality: DNA is found in all living organisms on Earth, from bacteria to plants to animals, making it a universal molecule for storing genetic information.
7. Central Role in Protein Synthesis: DNA carries the instructions for the synthesis of proteins, which are the workhorses of cellular functions. The sequence of DNA is transcribed into RNA, which, in turn, guides the assembly of amino acids into proteins.