We all know that DNA acts as a genetic molecule. Does DNA have any other function in the cell other than being a genetic material and carrier of information?


In eukaryotes DNA has a structural as well coding function. Parts of chromosomes called centromeres bind to proteins and form a scaffold which helps chromosomes attach to each other and correctly segregate during division. Technically this is still related to the transmission of genetic information though.

Since RNA can act as an enzyme (the so-called ribozymes), scientists have hypothesized that DNA can also have an enzymatic function, but no such function has been found in nature. Artificial DNA enzymes (deoxiribozymes) have been designed to cleave DNA, covalently modify proteins, ligate RNA molecules, and even catalyze reactions between small molecules. See this lab's website.

  • $\begingroup$ as far as i know DNAzymes are purely synthetic.. Are there natural DNAzymes too ?? $\endgroup$
    Jun 28 '13 at 9:11
  • $\begingroup$ No, there are only synthetic ones $\endgroup$
    – Drosophila
    Jun 28 '13 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ I want any other function inside living cells. Is there any ? $\endgroup$
    – user3893
    Jul 1 '13 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ From what I researched, no $\endgroup$
    – Drosophila
    Jul 1 '13 at 21:00

DNA has the following functions other than genetic material :

  1. It can function as a molecule that attaches to TLR ( Toll like Receptor ) on or in cells and so can contribute to innate immune response.
  2. It can act as carbon source. ( We have nucleases enzymes in our intestines.)
  3. It can be structural component of biofilms.
  4. It can also influence pH in cells as it is an acid.
  5. It is a structural component of neutrophil extracellular traps to wrap up microbes.

Please feel free to correct any errors I have made.


DNA has been shown to be important for biofilm formation in certain bacteria. This is extracellular DNA that comes from cell lysis.


Yes, maintenance of the genome. But not DNA specifically, but DNA and all of its associated proteins.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Could you give a bit more detail here? It's hard to tell what you're referring to. $\endgroup$ Aug 5 '13 at 10:17

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