Meaning of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA)

What is nucleic acids (DNA and RNA):

Nucleic acids are carriers of cellular information that determine the hereditary characteristics of all living beings.

Nucleic acids are nucleotide polymers that are divided into 2 types: DNA, deoxyribonucleic polymer and RNA, ribonucleic polymer.

Nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) work as a team to store and pass on genes (inherited traits) and instructions for determining the functions of vital proteins.

Nucleic acids are found both in the nuclei of cells, such as in mitochondria, chloroplasts and in the cytoplasm, such as, for example, in prokaryotic (nucleusless) cells of bacteria and viruses.

It is called nucleic acid because it was first discovered in the nucleus of cells by the Swiss biologist Friedrich Miescher (1844-1895).

Function of nucleic acids

Nucleic acids have the important function of storing the genetic information of cells, and also of transporting and transmitting these instructions for the synthesis of the necessary proteins.

Structure of nucleic acids

The primary structure of nucleic acids is a sequence of nucleotides. Each nucleotide is made up of a pentose (5-carbon monosaccharide), a phosphate group, and a nitrogen base.

Several nucleotides join through a bond known as a phosphodiester bridge to form polynucleotide chains. These chains form the backbone of nucleic acids that project laterally an alternating succession of pentoses, phosphate groups and nitrogenous bases.

Nucleic acid characteristics

Nucleic acids are characterized by being macromolecules that store or allow the transfer of genetic information that will determine the characteristics and functions of the vital proteins of a living being.

These macromolecules are formed by nucleotide polymers or also called polynucleotides.

Types of nucleic acids

There are 2 types of nucleic acids: DNA and RNA.

DNA is a deoxyribonucleotide polymer called deoxyribonucleic acid. It contains the genetic information and the instructions for the formation and synthesis of the proteins necessary for a given organism.

RNA is a polymer of ribonucleotides that is known as ribonucleic acid. Together with DNA, it directs the protein synthesis process, transporting and transmitting information to the ribosomes.

In this sense, RNA can be divided into: messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA) and ribosomal RNA (rRNA).

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