Fundamentals of Cellular and Molecular Biology

Nucleic Acid Structure

Author(s): Atta Ur Rahman *

Pp: 15-35 (21)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815238037124010004

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Nucleic acids are essential biomolecules that store and transmit genetic information in all living organisms. The structure of nucleic acids, specifically DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid), is crucial for their function. The backbone of nucleic acids is composed of alternating sugar and phosphate groups, while the nucleotide bases (adenine, guanine, cytosine, thymine and uracil) protrude from the sugar-phosphate backbone. The bases form specific hydrogen bonds with complementary bases on the opposite strand, resulting in the double-helical structure of DNA. RNA is usually single-stranded but can form secondary structures through base pairing. The three-dimensional structure of nucleic acids is also important for their function, as it determines the interactions between nucleic acids and other molecules, such as proteins. Understanding nucleic acid structure is fundamental for many areas of biology, including genetics, molecular biology and biotechnology. 

Keywords: Cellular process, Gene expression, Genetic information, Nucleotide sequence, Polynucleotide synthesis, Ribonucleic acid, Ribosomal RNA, Transfer RNA.

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