Monday, March 31, 2008

DNA Base Pairing Principle

The Base Pairing Principle is: Complementary base pairs are: adenine and thymine (A - T )
guanine and cytosine (G - C)

The base pairing is called complementary because there are specific geometry requirements in the formation of hydrogen bonds between the heterocylic amines. Heterocyclic amine base pairing is an application of the hydrogen bonding principle. In the structures for the complementary base pairs given in the graphic on the left, notice that the thymine - adenine pair interacts through two hydrogen bonds represented as (T=A) and that the cytosine-guanine pair interacts through three hydrogen bonds represented as (C=G).

Although other base pairing-hydrogen bonding combinations may be possible, they are not utilized because the bond distances do not correspond to those given by the base pairs already cited. The diameter of the helix is 20 Angstroms.

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