Home > DNA Basics > An Overview of DNA Functions

An Overview of DNA Functions

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 10 Jan 2017 | comments*Discuss
Dna Replication Coding Proteins Overview

The functions of DNA are vital for inheritance, coding for proteins and the genetic blueprint of life. Given the enormity of DNA's functions in the human body and its responsibility for the growth and maintenance of life, it is not surprising that the discovery of DNA has led to such a great number of developments in treating disease. DNA holds the instructions for an organism's development and reproduction - ultimately, its survival.

Coding for Proteins

DNA holds the code for proteins, which are complex molecules that do huge amounts of work around our body. Information in DNA is initially 'read' and then it is transcribed into a messenger molecule. After, the information held in this messenger molecule is translated into a 'language' that the body can understand. This language is one of amino acids, which are also known as the building blocks of proteins. It is this specific language that dictates how the amino acids should produce a particular protein. If you think about the twenty different kinds of amino acids, you can see that the ordering can produce an enormous variety of proteins.

DNA Replication

DNA replication is vital for a virtually endless list of functions, from reproduction to maintenance and growth of cells, tissues and body systems. To copy itself, a DNA molecule essentially 'unzips,' thus resulting in a series of bases without pairs along the backbone of the molecule. DNA has four bases - all part of a nucleotide that also consists of a sugar and phosphate. The four bases in DNA are very specific about which base they will attach to, which means that adenine only pairs with thymine and guanine will only pair with cytosine. As the nucleotides connect with unpaired bases on the backbone of the DNA molecule, they build a new strand that complements - or matches - the original sequence. The end result is a strand that is a perfect match to the original one prior to it unzipping.

Cells in your body replicate for purposes such as making new skin or blood cells. When mistakes occur, there are repair systems in place to remedy the mistake or alternately, a cell has a marker for destruction. If a cell survives a mutation, there are still benefits to an organism. In fact, this concept is essentially the basis for evolution.

Genetic Code

DNA is important in terms of our genetic code, in the sense that it transfers genetic messages to all of the cells in your body. If you think about DNA in a reproductive sense, consider that the joining of an egg and sperm to create your first cell provided your completed genetic code that your body would use for all of your life. Within that initial cell, half of your chromosomes - containing your DNA - came from your father and half came from your mother.

DNA clearly plays important roles in the human body and is one of the most significant discoveries of the twentieth century. Our continued research and knowledge of DNA functions will likely help us to learn even more about this important molecule.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Much smart very wow Very Helpful Good Grades
Doge - 10-Jan-17 @ 3:08 PM
Which three scientists directly contributed evidence for the discovery of the role of DNA? What instruments were necessary before the DNA could be found? What theory did these scientists provided evidence for? How did the earlier scientists and their contributions directly affect the discoveries of later scientist (see#2)? For example, what had to come first?
Burito - 2-Dec-16 @ 1:12 PM
the full form of DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid
yoly - 25-Jul-16 @ 2:20 PM
having a full information about dna codes..we can treat a no. of diseases mostly which are heriditry...like obesity.
khan - 10-May-16 @ 9:43 AM
Thanks for this, is really helped with one of my science assignments :)
Antone - 24-Feb-16 @ 12:24 PM
This is very good information, an A+ is garanteed in my assignment. Thank you!!!!!
stylez - 21-Nov-15 @ 10:44 PM
DNA is the reflection of individuals, including the habbit and the difference of individuals. Besides, it will inform us about our healthy condition. Genomics sequencing is one important way to help us know the function of DNA.
sherlin - 6-Oct-15 @ 7:56 AM
This site is perfect in teaching the basics of DNA. Good job!!!
DNA - 20-Apr-15 @ 2:38 AM
DNA is the genetic instruction guide for life & its processes.. Pls give me some more functions...
ishi - 6-Apr-15 @ 6:32 PM
Actually the sites is the best.
mukipe - 8-Feb-15 @ 6:49 PM
DNA in the body also contains Nucleosides and nucleotides in Which both contains purine and pyridine that are complex compound containing a nitrogenous base like adenine,thymine,quanine,and cytosine which are constituents of nucleic acids For the protein building blocks.
Fifxty - 17-Feb-13 @ 4:35 PM
It must now be made simple that what Mendel called unit factor and Johansen called gene is infact a gene battery - a group of closely related cistrons and regulators in DNA that govern synthesis of all enzymes needed for complete expression of a specific character
Wilayat Rizvi - 2-Feb-13 @ 2:16 PM
I suggest that in future Genetic Code be defined as the sequence of codons in DNA that determines the sequence of codons in mRNA and ultimately the sequence of amino acids in peptide chains
Wilayat Rizvi - 2-Feb-13 @ 2:07 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Liz
    Re: How was DNA Discovered?
    Would like to no more about DNA
    16 March 2017
  • gessy
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    My father died 38 years ago in US, his autopsy says from carbon monoxide intoxication, but I'm sure that isn't the whole story, a year ago…
    12 March 2017
  • papan
    Re: All About DNA and Proteins
    Which type of protien is used in DNA???
    5 March 2017
  • Aii
    Re: All About DNA and Proteins
    It would be very a big help if you also differentiated nucleic acids between proteins. :)
    27 February 2017
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    can i getDNA from a watch that my father owned ? i was told he wasnt my real father but i look so like him ?
    26 February 2017
  • red
    Re: Recent DNA Research and Developments
    Who are some people who are currently working with DNA?
    23 February 2017
  • deadwestboys
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Y-dna genealogy question: In 2007 I sent several 'licked' envelopes to a reputable dna lab. I was hoping the lab might detect Y-dna for my…
    17 February 2017
  • ExploreDNA
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    none - Your Question:My mother recently passed away the man I am told is me father says that we do not need my mothers dna to prove paternity…
    16 February 2017
  • none
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    my mother recently passed away the man i am told is me father says that we do not need my mothers dna to prove paternity is this true
    15 February 2017
  • ExploreDNA
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Kara - Your Question:My sister in law recently passed, and I have her child! There is an issue locating the father, but we have a potential…
    6 February 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ExploreDNA website. Please read our Disclaimer.