Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms (with the exception of RNA viruses). The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in regulating the use of this genetic information. Along with RNA and proteins, DNA is one of the three major macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life.
- DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.
- Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995), p. 133.
- There is enough storage capacity in the DNA of a single lily seed or a single salamander sperm to store the Encyclopædia Britannica 60 times over. Some species of the unjustly called ‘primitive’ amoebas have as much information in their DNA as 1,000 Encyclopædia Britannicas.
- It is so efficient that all the information . . . necessary to specify the design of all the species of organisms which have ever existed on the planet . . . could be held in a teaspoon and there would still be room left for all the information in every book ever written.
- Molecular biology has also shown that the basic design of the cell system is essentially the same in all living systems on earth from bacteria to mammals. In all organisms the roles of DNA, mRNA and protein are identical. The meaning of the genetic code is also virtually identical in all cells. The size, structure and component design of the protein synthetic machinery is practically the same in all cells. In terms of their basic biochemical design, therefore no living system can be thought of as being primitive or ancestral with respect to any other system, nor is there the slightest empirical hint of an evolutionary sequence among all the incredibly diverse cells on earth.
- Michael Denton, in Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, page 250. Quoted in Awake! magazine, January 22, 1990; Fraud in Science—The Greatest Fraud of All.
- The way DNA encodes information is analogous to how we arrange the letters of the alphabet into words and phrases with specific meanings. The word rat, for example, evokes a rodent; the words tarand art, which contain the same letters, mean very different things. We can think of nucleotides as a four-letter alphabet. Specific sequences of these four nucleotides encode the information in genes.
Many genes provide the blueprints for making proteins, which are the major players in building and maintaining the cell and carrying out its activities.
- Jane B. Reece, Lisa A. Urry, et al. Campbell Biology (10th ed., 2014), Ch. 1. Evolution, the Themes of Biology, and Scientific Inquiry
- Now we know that the intricate DNA genetic code makes it possible for the individual to inherit not only simple physical characteristics, such as size, shape and chemical makeup, but also a whole set of propensities for particular social behavior which goes with a given physiology.
- Lionel Tiger, anthropologist, in "Male Dominance? Yes, Alas. A Sexist Plot? No.; Not a sexist plot", The New York Times (25 October 1970).
- When finally interpreted, the genetic messages encoded within our DNA molecules will provide the ultimate answers to the chemical underpinnings of human existence.
- James D. Watson, one of the scientists credited with discovering the structure of the now famous DNA molecule. In "The Human Genome Project: past, present, and future." Science, 6 April 1990; 248:44-48.