DNA Sequencing… In the Form of a Drawing Lesson!

DNA sequencing cartoon image

The term ‘DNA Sequencing’ – actually refers to the method by which the arrangement of nucleotide bases in a molecule of deoxyribonucleic acid (what we’re drawing!) – is determined. Here in this simple cartoon lesson though, have fun creating a sequence of your own – just remember to keep your bases paired!… A-T and G-C.

The subject at hand is the very building block of all life on earth. First discovered by Mieschler – a Swiss Scientist in 1869… it wasn’t until the early 1950s when Watson and Crick were finally able to understand and explain its structure to the world.

And this is understandable!…

It’s structure – that of two intertwining helixes – is definitely a complicated one. Looking up top at the finished drawing, we can explain it in simple terms as a Sugar-Phosphate backbone (the blue helixes), connected by a series of interlocking nucleotide base pairs – Adenine (Green – A), Thymine (Red – T), Guanine (Yellow – G) and Cytosine (Violet – C). And again – A is always paired with T, and G always with C.

Let’s draw!

First Step – The DNA Structure… Complication Simplified!

In first thinking about a method to make drawing a molecule of DNA – easiest for you to do… I had to experiment a bit. Another parallel with respect to art and science. 🙂

The trickiest part I’d say, is being able to have two helixes curve into and around each other, in such a way that they appear 3D (as they should)… and are spaced in an ‘even enough’ manner.

That’s where the following method came into play…

Planning out the structure for drawing DNA Laying down the framework for drawing DNA Marking off key points for drawing DNA A zig zag pattern for drawing DNA An opposite zig zag pattern for drawing DNA Adding more lines to draw DNA

Clearly, the above examples require the use of a ruler. It’s a tedious approach – but in doing so, keeping your lines nice and light… you will have a much easier time when it comes to the actual curves, twists and turns – of your Sugar-Phosphate Backbones.

I hope this approach is helpful. If not – at least you can visualize the basic idea before you jump in and start drawing.

Moving forward…

Second Step – DNA Sequencing… the Steps that Is!

Please note, the first two images below – showing the rectangles, angled and interlocking as they are… are only in place so that you can more easily visualize the curvature of each helix structure as it winds around.

In making this lesson, I decided to go back and add this step, as I think ‘jumping’ from a straight line reference to a curved one – IN THIS WAY — can indeed be a little difficult the first time through. Hope it helps to get the visual of the intertwining helixes to ‘sink in’ ahead of time. 🙂

Let the complexity begin!

Drawing the first set of lines for DNA Drawing the opposite set of lines for DNA Converting previous lines to curved lines Drawing the first curved DNA segment Drawing additional curved DNA segments Completing the first half of the DNA Drawing the bases of DNA Drawing more DNA sequencing bases Drawing more bases for a DNA cartoon drawing Drawing the segments appearing further back in the DNA Continuing drawing further back segments Finalizing the further back segments of the DNA drawing Visualizing the final DNA sequencing drawing Black and white drawing of DNA sequencing Cartoon drawing of DNA sequencing

So… what do you think? Was it hard? Easier than you expected maybe!? Definitely tedious – that’s for sure. But in the end, even if it takes a few times to get right (which is good as this encourages practice and repetition)… coming up with a cool-looking cartoon molecule of DNA – is definitely doable.

Just make sure to color those bases accordingly!

And other than that – you’re all done. DNA Sequencing through drawing accomplished.

Wow – this lesson was SUPER fun to create!