DNA Structure and Replication

Deoxyribonucleic acid, known more commonly as DNA, is an essential building block in what makes you, you and me, me. It is made up of phosphates, sugars and nitrogen.

DNA’s form resembles a kind of twisted ladder which¬† consists of two antiparallel strands (antiparallel because they are each read in opposite directions) with rungs made up of the complimentary base paired nucleotides. The force that holds this ladder together is the hydrogen bonding between the strands and nucleotides. This is represented in the above photos by white pipecleaners with beads on them. The beads are paired with specific colours to represents complimentary base pairs. (Ex. Blue and yellow = Adenine and Thymine, Purple and green = Guanine and Cytosine).

The above photos show DNA and the process of DNA Replication modeled by pipecleaners and beads. When DNA replicates it is unzipped with the help of a DNA helicase, represented by the watermelon candy. The DNA strands are now separated and, with the help of DNA polymerase (blue Bigfoot) they find different strands to pair up with through complimentary base pairing. However, the polymerase can only read DNA in one direction so the DNA ligase (Red Bigfoot), reads the other side and attaches the bases in the other direction. The joining of adjacent nucleotides is now complete. The complimentary base pairing is, again, represented by the beads on the white pipecleaners (white shown represents hydrogen bonding). In the end there are two identical strands of DNA.


This assignment modeled DNA Structure and DNA Replication well, but there were times where our group was confused by the instructions and had to seek help from other groups.

The pipecleaners were also a little bit difficult to work with in regards to hooking and unhooking the pieces of white pipecleaners. This took a lot of time that could’ve been spent on the blog post. Aside from that, I believe the beads worked well and the candy was colourful which helped me remember what they represented and their function better.

From this project I got to apply my knowledge of DNA Structure and Replication and this helped me retain the information I learned.

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