What Is the Function of DNA?

The primary function of DNA is to send the instructions needed for the development, survival and reproduction of living organisms. DNA contains information required to create proteins, and proteins are used to complete specific functions. Proteins are complex molecules that serve different functions and provide physical characteristics to organisms. To accomplish different functions, DNA sequences are transformed into messages that are used to produce proteins.

Different proteins serve different functions. Structural protein is used to develop building materials, such as collagen, whereas transport protein carries substances such as hemoglobin in blood. DNA sequences are used to regulate the quantity of a protein being produced and when and how the production takes place.

The instructions within the DNA are used to create proteins in a two-step process. The first step requires an enzyme to read the information in the DNA and copy the information into a messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA. The second step translates the mRNA into a language that is understood by amino acids. Amino acids are the fundamental building blocks of proteins. The mRNA language instructs the cell's development in a precise order to link to a precise amino acid, which creates a specific protein. There are 20 different types of amino acids that can link in different orders to create a variety of proteins.