Even though there’s a lot of genetic material floating around in our cells they only account for less than 6% of the weight of the cell, of which RNA makes up the majority 0.5% of the weight of a cell being RNA molecules while DNA only accounts for less than 1% of the mass. (Cooper 2000)
For storage purposes we know that the DNA in our body is heavily compressed and coiled in the cell but if we were to stretch out the length of all the DNA molecules in your body it could reach the moon and back 6000 times? (Talk about a long ladder… whoa).
The average human genome (all of an organism’s genetic material) has the equivalent storage capacity of a 4Gb flash drive.
Since each cell in body has a copy and its estimated thats there’s an average of 100 trillion cells in the human body, (Matthews 2009) that means if humans were hard drives, we will would have 400 trillion GB of storage space!! Thats more than we’d know what to do with (With all of that memory, 😛 imagine the processing power of the human brain, my fellow computer fanatics).
What are nucleotides you ask? Well fear not, my biochemians, though I’m no hero I’m coming to save the day anyway.
Nucleotides are the molecules which are the main components that composed RNA and DNA. They are imperative for survival since they are used in enzyme reactions, production of chemical energy and cell signalling (Wisegeek n.d.).
The nucleic acids DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and ribonucleic acid (RNA), made up of nucleotides joined by phosphodiester linkages between the Carbons 3 and 5 are the 2 major molecules of genetic information.
They consist of 3 parts:
-a negatively charged phosphate group
-a pentose sugar (5 C ring)… Seen as ribose in RNA and deoxyribose in DNA.
-& a nitrogenous base. There are 5 bases, namely Uracil (U)Thymine (T), Adenine (A), Guanine (G) and Cytosine (C).
but be duly warned… thymine is found on only in DNA, whereas uracil is only found in RNA.
Cooper, Geoffrey M. The cell. Washington, D.C.: ASM Press, 2000.
Uic.edu. “DNA and the Molecular Basis of Heredity.” n.d.. http://www.uic.edu/classes/bios/bios100/lectures/dna.htm (accessed 30 March 2014).
wiseGEEK. “What Are Nucleotides?.” n.d.. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-nucleotides.htm (accessed 30 March 2014).
Contributors: Le Frenchie, India, Roi (editor)