How to Draw DNA

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DNA stands for "deoxyribonucleic acid." DNA is a chemical compound found within the nucleus of the cells of all living things. DNA is responsible for trait inheritance - the color of your eyes, the pattern on a kitten's coat, or the height of a mighty tree.

The shape of DNA is called a double helix. Two DNA molecules are wrapped around one another in a shape resembling a spiral staircase or a twisted ladder. The sides of the ladder are made up of sugars and phosphate molecules. The "rungs" of the ladder contain information. The four nucleotides - the "rungs," called adenine, guanine, thymine, and cytosine - form patterns. This can be compared to the pattern of numbers that are used to represent information on a CD or DVD.

Did you know? Each of your cells contains six feet of DNA. That means that all the DNA in your body, if stretched end-to-end, could reach to the sun and back about 600 times. Scientists have also discovered that humans share about 99.9 percent of DNA. It is just 0.1 percent of our DNA that makes us unique. People are more similar to one another than they are different.

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DNA has also appeared in popular culture. An explanation of DNA was important to the plot of the blockbuster film Jurassic Park (1993). Drawings of DNA are common in textbooks, in science fiction films or series, and even on clothing and other items.

Would you like to draw a strand of DNA? This easy, step-by-step scientific drawing tutorial is here to show you how. All you will need is a pencil, an eraser, and a sheet of paper. You may also wish to use crayons, markers, colored pencils, or paints to color your finished model.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Lily, Tulip, and Magnolia Flowers.

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​Step by Step Instructions for Drawing​ DNA

How to Draw DNA: Step 1

1. Begin by drawing a pair of straight lines, placed diagonally and parallel to one another. These guide lines will help you to draw the DNA.

How to Draw DNA: Step 2

2. Draw pairs of parallel, curved lines between the two straight lines. These lines should be placed diagonally in relation to the straight lines.

How to Draw DNA: Step 3

3. Begin drawing additional pairs of parallel, curved lines on the opposite diagonal from the first. These lines should appear to form an "X" shape with the first lines.

How to Draw DNA: Step 4

4. Continue drawing pairs of parallel, curved lines until you reach the bottom of the figure. There, draw an additional set of lines that look as if they will cross each other if they were to continue. Enclose the end of each set with a short line.

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How to Draw DNA: Step 5

5. Erase the long, straight guide lines from the figure.

How to Draw DNA: Step 6

6. Begin drawing pairs of straight, parallel lines within each rounded opening. Enclose them on each end with short lines, and erase guide lines as necessary. Notice that each opening contains three such bars, or nucleotides. This is because each codon, or bit of information, is made of a nucleotide triplet, or three nucleotides.

How to Draw DNA: Step 7

7. Draw three nucleotides in the next opening, using three sets of straight, parallel lines. Enclose each set on the ends and erase guide lines as necessary.

How to Draw DNA: Step 8

8. Draw three nucleotides in the next section, erasing guide lines as necessary.

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How to Draw DNA: Step 9

9. Draw your final set of nucleotides, completing the DNA strand.

How to Draw DNA: Step 10

Color your DNA. Bright colors are often used to distinguish the different parts of the structure.

DNA has been called the "building block" or "blueprint" of life. Animals and plants all have DNA. Discover more with our selection of plant and animal drawing guides.

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The Complete DNA Drawing Tutorial in One Image

How to Draw DNA

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