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RNA & DNA

Nucleic Acids
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Nucleic Acids

RNA and DNA are building blocks of life. They occur in the cells of nearly all life forms. The full names of these nucleic acids are ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid.

DNA contains genetic information passed on to offspring and instructions for making proteins that carry out the functions of cells. RNA carries the information. Explore these intricate and amazing structures.

About.com
How to Extract DNA from Anything Living

How to Extract DNA from Anything Living

Put enzymes (in the form of meat tenderizer) to work and extract DNA from a variety of vegetables and fruits. Make sure it's OK to use the blender. More...

Activity
Genetic Science Learning Center
DNA: The Double Helix Game

DNA: The Double Helix Game

This game challenges you to make exact copies of 3 doubled-stranded DNA molecules by correctly matching their base pairs. Once you've done that, can you guess the organism you copied?
More...

Game
NobelPrize.org
Build a DNA Molecule

Build a DNA Molecule

DNA needs to replicate before a cell divides. It does so rapidly — in a fraction of the time you can build a DNA molecule by hand in this activity. More...

Interactive
University of Utah
Through the Wormhole: From RNA to DNA

Through the Wormhole: From RNA to DNA

How did life originate on Earth? Did RNA form before DNA? Scientists think so. They also think the so-called “primordial pond” of its origin had a whole lot going on. More...

Video
Discovery
Before Watson and Crick

Before Watson and Crick

James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA. Their breakthrough depended on the work of many scientists before them. What’s the full story? More...

Profile
PBS
DNA vs. RNA

DNA vs. RNA

DNA and RNA are present in the cells of all living things. What’s the difference in form and function between the two nucleic acids? More...

Article
Argonne National Laboratory
DNA-RNA-Protein

DNA-RNA-Protein

DNA and RNA have components in common, but they differ in structure and function and in the creation of proteins. In this resource, you can determine the level of additional exploration. More...

Article
The Nobel Foundation
Do-It-Yourself DNA

Do-It-Yourself DNA

Squish the DNA out of strawberries in this easy-to-do experiment. You don’t need a crime-scene lab, just some common household items — and strawberries! More...

Activity
Science Buddies
Nucleic Acid and Protein Decomposition

Nucleic Acid and Protein Decomposition

When an organism dies, what happens to its nucleic acids, the RNA and DNA? Do they expire with it? Find out here. More...

Article
Argonne National Laboratory
Synthetic XNA Molecules Can Evolve and Store Genetic Information

Synthetic XNA Molecules Can Evolve and Store Genetic Information

Move over DNA and RNA: Now there is XNA, made in the lab using novel nucleic acids. Read more about this advance and the new field known as "synthetic genetics." More...

Article
Discover Magazine
Timeline: DNA Science from Mendel to Today

Timeline: DNA Science from Mendel to Today

Check out this interactive timeline tracing 150 years of genetic discoveries, from Gregor Mendel's experiments on pea plants to the sequencing of the human genome. More...

Interactive
DNA Learning Center
Virus Particles: Structure and Function

Virus Particles: Structure and Function

When a virus attacks a cell it takes control of the nucleic acid. The nucleic acid then assists the virus in replicating. Build a virus and see for yourself. More...

Interactive
Wisc-Online.com

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