1 Nanometer Size

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Scale = 1 nanometer (10 Angstroms)

[metric scalebar] 1 nm (10 Angstroms)
[ruler]
DNA double helix
Model of double-helical DNA
Paul Thiessen)
Life at the scale of 1 nm
We are now at the size range of large biological molecules, such as the DNA molecule shown above. DNA, the molecule responsible for heredity, has a diameter of about 2 nm, only 20 times the diameter of a single atom. DNA molecules are very long, however. The DNA from the intestinal bacterium E. coli, for example, is 1 mm in actual length. Such a piece of DNA would stretch 1 million times the length of the ruler on this page.

In this model, each DNA atom is represented as a colored ball, with the following color code:

    Black = carbon
    Blue = nitrogen
    Red = oxygen
    White = hydrogen
    Green = phosphorus