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DNA Paper Model

DNA is perfect for the storage and readout of genetic information, which is stored in the way the bases match one another on opposite sides of the double helix. Adenine (A) pairs with thymine (T), and guanine (G) with cytosine (C), with each pair forming a set of complementary hydrogen bonds.

The all-atom model (shown on the second side) has the sequence C-G-C-T-T-A-A-G-C-G. Notice that this sequence is palindromic: if you take one chain and flip it around, it will form the proper base pairs with another copy of the chain. Add your own base pairs in the model to the right…but be sure to pair them up properly! The edges of the base pairs are exposed in the two grooves of the double helix: the wider major groove and the narrower minor groove. These edges are also used to carry information that is read by proteins that interact with the double helix.

To build this paper model of DNA, download and print the template PDF (English | Spanish). Instructions for cutting and assembling are included.

Video: How to fold the DNA paper model

Use the PDB-101 Browser to explore more resources and articles about DNA, RNA, and Protein Synthesis.


Molecule of the Month: DNA
doi: 10.2210/rcsb_pdb/mom_2001_11