Meaning of Nucleic Acids (DNA and RNA)

What are Nucleic Acids (DNA and RNA):

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

Nucleic acids are polymers of nucleotides 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 transmit genes (inherited traits) and the 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, for example, in prokaryotic cells (without a nucleus) of bacteria and viruses.

It is called a 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 said 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 composed of a pentose (5-carbon monosaccharide), a phosphate group, and a nitrogenous base.

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

Characteristics of nucleic acids

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.

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These macromolecules are formed by polymers of nucleotides or also called polynucleotides.

Types of nucleic acids

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

DNA is a polymer of deoxyribonucleotides 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 known as ribonucleic acid. Together with DNA, it directs the process of protein synthesis by 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).