What is the Subunit of DNA Called?

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Each subunit of DNA consists of a sugar, deoxyribose and the subunits are adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine. Learn about the subunits of DNA with information from a biology teacher in this free video on science.

Part of the Video Series: DNA Structure & Testing
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Video Transcript

Have you ever wondered how it is that a fertilized egg becomes a chicken or a cow or a fish or a person? I'm Janice Crenetti and I'm here to answer the question, what is the subunit of DNA? Well DNA is what replication, what life creation is all about. You see, DNA, the molecule I have up on the screen, is the blueprint for life. I sometimes tell my students that's it the recipe for creating you. There's certain chemicals that get put together in certain proportions and that creates a person or a cow or a pig or an orange. The DNA molecule is fairly complex, it's got a lot of different parts in there. But there is one main subunit that creates the DNA molecule and that's called a nucleotide. The DNA molecule inside of a cell exists in a twisted up form called a double helix, looks sort of like this. Well if I could untwist the molecule that's on the screen, I would see something that looks like a ladder and if I looked closely, I would notice that that ladder has a backbone, has these little things right here, this is actually representing a sugar molecule and then there's one of four different colored rungs that go across the ladder. Well the subunit would look something like this. Here's one subunit of DNA. Each subunit consists of a sugar, in the case of DNA, it's deoxyribose, that's where the D in DNA comes from. A phosphate molecule which ends up forming the backbone or the sides of the ladder and then one of four different types of bases, could be adenine, cytosine, guanine or thymine. That's going to be the base that attaches to the rest. This whole thing together is called a nucleotide and it's dozens, millions, hundreds of DNA nucleotides depending on the animal that you're talking about or the plant or even the single celled organism, that creates a DNA molecule. The pattern of nucleotides determines what kind of organism you have. A cow or a fish or a dog or a rabbit or even something like an amoeba. So these little subunits fit together to make a DNA molecule to make you, you. I'm Janice Crenetti and this is what is the subunit of DNA.


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