DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a genetic material that contains the instructions for the development and functioning of all living organisms. It is found in the nucleus of every cell in our body and carries the genetic information that determines our traits, such as eye color, height, and susceptibility to certain diseases. DNA is made up of building blocks called nucleotides, which consist of a sugar molecule (deoxyribose), a phosphate group, and one of four nitrogenous bases: adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G).

The order of these bases along the DNA molecule forms a unique genetic code for each individual. The bases pair with each other in a specific way: adenine always pairs with thymine, and cytosine always pairs with guanine. This pairing creates a double-stranded helical structure, known as the double helix, with the bases forming the “rungs” of the ladder and the sugar-phosphate backbones forming the “sides”.

DNA replication is the process by which an identical copy of DNA is made during cell division. This allows the genetic information to be passed on from one cell to its daughter cells. DNA also plays a crucial role in protein synthesis. Genes, which are segments of DNA, serve as templates for the creation of proteins, which carry out the majority of cellular functions. Understanding the structure and function of DNA has revolutionized fields such as genetics, medicine, and forensic science, and continues to be an area of active research.

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