7.A12 Freshman Seminar: Structural Basis of Genetic Material: Nucleic Acids

As taught in: Fall 2005

Illustration showing the structure of a DNA molecule.

The structure of DNA: DNA is a double helix formed by base pairs attached to a sugar-phosphate backbone. (Image courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.)




Prof. Shuguang Zhang

Course Description

Since the discovery of the structure of the DNA double helix in 1953 by Watson and Crick, the information on detailed molecular structures of DNA and RNA, namely, the foundation of genetic material, has expanded rapidly. This discovery is the beginning of the "Big Bang" of molecular biology and biotechnology. In this seminar, students discuss, from a historical perspective and current developments, the importance of pursuing the detailed structural basis of genetic materials.