What contains hereditary material?


Quick Answer

DNA contains hereditary material. It is located in the nucleus of a cell and contains instructions for producing proteins necessary for cellular function. These instructions are coded using four nitrogenous bases. The sequence of the bases determines the type of protein produced.

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Full Answer

The four nitrogenous bases in DNA are adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine. Each base is attached to a sugar and a phosphate molecule and make up a structure known as a nucleotide. The sugar of one nucleotide attaches to the phosphate of another nucleotide to form a long chain. The nitrogenous bases from two nucleotides bond and result in a ladder-like appearance for the DNA.

DNA is tightly wound into a structure known as a double helix. The double helix unwinds before a cell divides, and the bond between the nitrogenous bases is broken. Each nitrogenous base pairs with a new complementary base to form two copies of the DNA. This ensures that each cell has a copy of DNA.

The process of creating a protein begins in the cell's nucleus. The sequence of nitrogenous bases on a DNA strand is transcribed onto a strand of messenger RNA. The information on the messenger RNA is translated into a sequence of amino acids that link together in a particular pattern to form different proteins.

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