James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA and author of the international bestseller The Double Helix, tells the story of the amazing molecule since its discovery fifty years ago, following modern genetics from his own Nobel prize-winning work in the fifties to today's Dolly the sheep, designer babies and GM foods.
Professor Watson introduces the science of modern genetics, along with its history and its implications, in this magnificent guide to one of the most triumphant achievements of human science.
DNA stores biological information. The DNA backbone is resistant to cleavage, and both strands of the double-stranded structure store the same biological information. Biological information is replicated as the two strands are separated. A significant portion of DNA (more than 98% for humans) is non-coding, meaning that these sections do not serve as patterns for protein sequences.
The two strands of DNA run in opposite directions to each other and are therefore anti-parallel. Attached to each sugar is one of four types of nucleobases (informally, bases). It is the sequence of these four nucleobases along the backbone that encodes biological information. Under the genetic code, RNA strands are translated to specify the sequence of amino acids within proteins. These RNA strands are initially created using DNA strands as a template in a process called transcription.