Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Deoxyribonucleic acid. Usually, a long, unbranched polynucleotide of paired bases (see the base pairing rule) linked by two spiraling backbones running in opposite directions (DNA is thus double stranded, forming an antiparallel double helix); DNA is the primary hereditary material in all cells. The majority of DNA is located within the chromosomes. DNA is the genetic blueprint for an organism.

See ancient DNA, antisense DNA, B-DNA (right-handed DNA), cDNA, dsDNA, duplex DNA, junk DNA (spacer DNA), mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), nonsense DNA, rDNA, recombinant DNA, repetitive DNA, satellite DNA, selfish DNA (parasite DNA), shared DNA, template DNA, transconformational DNA, vDNA, Y chromosome DNA, and Z-DNA (lefthanded DNA).

Cf. RNA.

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