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DNA Models

The structure of DNA is often simplified when it is drawn or modeled. For example, the DNA double helix is often illustrated as a straight ladder, as shown at the bottom of Figure 10-8. The sugar-phosphate "handrails" are drawn as a straight line so that the base-pair "steps" between the DNA strands are easier to see. Notice that simplifying the DNA structure highlights the complementary base pairs in each of the DNA nucleotides. In some cases the structure of DNA is simplified even more by just writing the first letter of each of the nitrogenous bases in the DNA nucleotides. For example, the DNA in Figure 10-8b would be represented by

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