What does DNA stand for?


DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. While DNA is an acid, it’s a very weak one – think – vinegar, or the citric acid in lemons rather than a dangerous acid like sulphuric acid.

What about the word “nucleic”? That has nothing to do with nuclear energy – it refers to the nucleus or centre of the living cell. The nucleus is the compartment where, in animals, plants and fungi, the DNA is stored. (In bacteria the DNA just floats around in the cell.)

The third part of the name – “deoxyribo” – also has a chemical sound to it but this just refers to ribose, which is a sugar a bit like glucose but with fewer carbons. The “deoxy” part means the ribose is missing one oxygen atom. This makes DNA a very stable, non-reactive molecule and ideal for the long term storage of genetic information.

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2 Responses to What does DNA stand for?

  1. Phil Krause says:

    I thought DNA stands for National Association for Dyslexics.

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