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The Key Contents from this Module are:

The main function of nucleic acid is the storage and transmission of genetic information.

Two classes of nucleic acid distinguished based on the type of carbohydrate they contain are:

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA)

Four constituents of DNA are:

Cytosine
Thymine
Adenine
Guanine

DNA has a double-helix structure composed of two intertwined strands. Sugar-phosphate backbone lies on the outside and the bases (A-T-C-G) lie on the inside.

A plasmid is a small, extrachromosomal DNA molecule within a cell that is physically separated from chromosomal DNA and can replicate independently. Plasmids act as a cloning vector to carry foreign DNA into a host cell.

DNA cloning is used to produce multiple copies of a single gene.

Agarose gel electrophoresis can be used to separate DNA fragments.

DNA cloning can be useful for two basic purposes as listed below:

To amplify a particular gene
To produce a protein product

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a method widely used to rapidly make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample, allowing scientists to take a very small sample of DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail.


Its three basic steps include:

Strand separation
Annealing of primers
DNA synthesis