Nucleic Acids

Nucleic Acids in Dictionary

Acid is the name given to that substance that, in solution, increases the concentration of hydrogen ions. When acids combine with bases, they allow the development of salts.

Among the different types of acids defined by Digopaul, nucleic acids appear. These are polymers that are formed from certain monomers that are related through phosphodiester bonds. The string of these junctions allows the development of extensive chains that can include millions of monomers.

It should be noted that a polymer is a macromolecule composed of multiple monomers, which are smaller molecules. In the specific case of nucleic acids, they are polymers formed by monomers that are linked by phosphodiester bonds (a kind of covalent bond).

The ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) are two types of nucleic acids. These acids store and transmit the genetic data of living things.

In the case of RNA, it is made up of a linear chain of ribonucleotides, which can be found in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. The mode of construction of RNA and other substances that make up cells is found in DNA, which houses the instructions linked to genetics. What we know as a gene, in fact, is a segment of DNA.

Beyond its functions, it is possible to differentiate between these classes of nucleic acids by their molecular mass (in RNA it is less than in DNA), their chain types (it is usual for RNA to be single-stranded and DNA, double-stranded), its nitrogenous bases and its carbohydrates.

The genetic information is contained in the nitrogenous bases, which have a cyclic structure of oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon. Some of them are adenine, guanine and cytosine. Two types of nitrogenous bases are recognized: purines and pyrimidines, which are derived from purine and pyrimidine, respectively.

When talking about the structure of nucleic acids, reference is made to their morphology, and this is studied in depth with examples such as RNA and DNA. Thanks to the observation of this structure in detail, it is possible to find the genetic code.

The concept of genetic code, meanwhile, is the group of rules that are obtained when a nucleotide sequence is translated into RNA. It is a kind of glossary in which certain equivalences are established between the language of proteins and the nitrogenous bases of RNA. The following general characteristics of the genetic code are recognized:

* it is universal, since practically all living beings use it, with the exception of some triplets, in bacteria;

* each triplet has a particular meaning, so it has no ambiguity;

* each triplet can indicate a reading termination or encode an amino acid;

* each amino acid has multiple triplets;

* no triplet shares nitrogenous bases with others;

* its reading is unidirectional.

Returning to the structure of nucleic acids, whose development is based on the model of scientists Francis Crick and James Watson, it is divided into the following four parts:

* primary: if we start from the chains that make up the DNA, the primary structure is defined as the sequence of nitrogenous bases of each one of them;

* secondary: it is the group of interactions that take place between the nitrogenous bases;

* tertiary: taking into account the steric and geometric limits, this structure is the location of atoms in three dimensions;

* Quaternary: in the case of RNA, it refers to the interactions that take place between its units, either in the spleiceosome or in the ribosome. If we talk about DNA, on the other hand, it is its most complex organization in chromatin.

Nucleic Acids