What are the building blocks of nucleic acids?
In this article, we discuss the building blocks of nucleic acids. A nucleic acid comprises three parts (monomers): a phosphate group, a sugar group, and a nitrogenous base. The sugar and phosphate groups are attached with a glycosidic linkage, forming an acyclic structure called a nucleoside; the nitrogenous base, in turn, is attached to the following monomer in the chain using an N-glycosidic bond.
What are nucleic acids?
Nucleic acids are one of two types that make up DNA, the molecule in cells that carries genetic information. The other type is protein. Nucleic acid molecules typically have a sugar molecule (deoxyribose or ribose) as their backbone, and nitrogen-containing organic molecules called bases attached to each sugar for linking together different nucleotides. There are four commands: adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine. A sequence of three bases on one strand will determine whether it’s an ATCG sequence or a GCTA sequence–whether it’s from a gene coding for an amino acid or not!
The Building Blocks of Nucleic Acids: An Overview
Nucleic acids are an essential part of our DNA, a double-stranded molecule. The bases in these strands can be classified as purines and pyrimidines. Purine bases have adenine and guanine, while pyrimidine grounds have thymine and cytosine. Guanine constantly pairs with cytosine, and adenine continuously pairs with thymine. Adenine has a hydrogen atom on its ring structure; this hydrogen atom is called a hydroxyl group. Cytosine has no hydroxyl group in its ring structure; instead, it has a methyl group that replaces the hydroxyl group in adenine’s ring structure.
What are the building blocks of nucleic acids: Explanation
The building blocks of DNA and RNA stand also called nucleotides. A nucleotide comprises a sugar molecule (ribose), one phosphate group, and one or more nitrogenous bases. A DNA strand consists of alternating phosphate and sugar molecules, with nitrogenous base pairs sticking out like rungs on a ladder. There are four different types of nitrogenous bases: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). The letters stand for their chemical names: adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine. The order in which these nitrogenous bases appear on a strand dictates what type of genetic code it will produce to create proteins that perform functions in our bodies. The building blocks of nucleic acids exist as “nucleotides”.
Each nucleotide is composed of three parts…
- Pentose sugar.
- Nitrogenous bases.
- Phosphoric acid.
The 4 Major Building Blocks of Nucleic Acids
DNA and RNA have four major components: adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. These four molecules form a double helix shape to create genetic coding. In DNA, adenine links with thymine, while cytosine links with guanine. The sequence is crucial as it codes for a specific amino acid or protein. In RNA, adenine links with uracil (a molecule similar to thymine), while cytosine links with guanine. Unlike DNA which stores information about an organism’s genes, RNA’s primary role is to make proteins for cells. It carries instructions from the cell nucleus to ribosomes in the cytoplasm. Ribosomes are factories that assemble these proteins from simpler ones called amino acids.
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