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Lesson 14 - The Nucleic Acids and Related Compounds and Student Experiment at Home

Student Performance Objectives

1. Explain the relationship between DNA and the genetic code.
2. List and explain 3 functions of RNA in cells.
3. Describe the type of bonds holding the DNA double helix molecule together.
4. Explain the relationship of the purine and pyrimidine bases in DNA and the genetic code.
5. Describe a simple experiment you can do at home to isolate DNA from anything living.

Lesson Outline
A. DNA as the nucleic acid molecule holding the genetic code in the sequence of bases it

B. RNA as the nucleic acid molecule holding the genetic code for some viruses, and serving
    in our cells as structural molecules (in ribosomes), messenger molecules (messenger RNA),
    and transport molecules for amino acids in protein synthesis (transfer RNA).
C. DNA and RNA as polymers of nucleotides.
D. Nucleotides as organic compounds containing a sugar (deoxyribose in DNA and ribose in
     RNA) attached to a phosphate (PO4-3) and also a nitrogen base made of either the purines,
     adenine (A) and guanine (G), or the pyrimidines, cytosine (C) and thymine (T). Note that in
     RNA, the pyrimidines uracil (U) substitutes for thymine.
E. Concept of the double helix as DNA's basic structure. The double helix is constructed based
    on the pairing of the nitrogen bases: in DNA, A pairs with T and G pairs with C.
F. Note that RNA is not double helical; it is usually single stranded.
G. ATP as a monomer of an RNA nucleotide containing adenine and utilized in cells as energy
     currency: the energy stored and released by ATP is utilized by living cells to power most life
     processes (e.g., about 70% of all cellular energy is utilized to maintain the cell border,
     membranes, containing the ionic pumps, receptors, and membrane channels for movements of
     molecules and ions into and out of cells).
H. Student Experiment carried out at home: isolation of DNA from any handy fruit or other
    food by the student utilizing kitchen chemicals: dishwashing detergent, meat tenderizer, and
    rubbing alcohol, along with a simple blender, strainer, small cup and a toothpick. See


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