Once DNA was shown to be the genetic material, a race among scientists took place to work out its structure. Studies of the amounts of each DNA base in different organisms led to the concept of complementary base-paring. Interpretations of X-ray photographs of DNA were used to describe the shape and dimensions of the molecule. An analysis of this and other available data led to a structural model for the DNA double helix.
The student will investigate and understand common mechanisms of inheritance and protein synthesis. Key concepts include a) cell growth and division; b) gamete formation; c) cell specialization; d) prediction of inheritance of traits based on the Mendelian laws of heredity; e) historical development of the structural model of DNA; f) genetic variation; g) the structure, function, and replication of nucleic acids; h) events involved in the construction of proteins; i) use, limitations, and misuse of genetic information; and j) exploration of the impact of DNA technologies.