. Write the salient features of the Double-helix structure of DNA
The salient features of the Double-helix structure of DNA are as follows:
i. It is made of two polynucleotide chains, where the backbone is constituted by sugar-phosphate, and the bases project inside.
ii. The two chains have anti-parallel polarity. It means, if one chain has the polarity 5' 3', the other has 3' 5' .
iii. The bases in two strands are paired through hydrogen bond (H-bonds) forming base pairs (bp). Adenine forms two hydrogen bonds with Thymine from opposite strand and vice-versa. Similarly, Guanine is bonded with Cytosine with three H-bonds. As a result, always a purine comes opposite to a pyrimidine. This generates approximately uniform distance between the two strands of the helix.
iv. The two chains are coiled in a right-handed fashion. The pitch of the helix is 3.4 nm (a nanometre is one billionth of a metre, that is 10–9 m) and there are roughly 10 bp in each turn. Consequently, the distance between a bp in a helix is approximately equal to 0.34 nm.
v. The plane of one base pair stacks over the other in double helix. This, in addition to H-bonds, confers stability of the helical structure