Patient & Family Education Materials

Start over with a New Search

Word! DNA

Article Translations: (Spanish)


(En español: ADN)

Say: dee-enn-ay

DNA is a short nickname for deoxyribonucleic (say: dee-OK-see-ri-bo-new-klee-ik) acid. DNA is the genetic information inside the cells of the body that helps make people who they are. It's the instructions for how to make the body, like the code to a video game or blueprints for a house.

If you used a very strong microscope, you would see that DNA looks like a twisting ladder. Four different chemicals called nucleotides (say: NEW-klee-uh-tydes) pair up to make the rungs of the ladder. Groups of nucleotides make up genes. Genes determine things like what color your hair and eyes are and how tall you are. DNA is stored in the chromosomes (say: KRO-muh-sohms) that are inside every cell of the body. Everyone inherits two sets of chromosomes, one from each parent.

Inside the cell is the chromosome, which unravels and shows the DNA. DNA is 2 strands connected with nucleotides. A gene is segment of DNA.

Back To Top

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2022 KidsHealth ® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and