Our genetic information is encoded in our cells in the form of RNA and DNA, much the way you would record your favorite tunes on a tape in the 1990s. These are constructed of polymers having acidic characteristics that have repeating units. The phrase “nucleic acid” refers to the big molecules in our cells that contain so much crucial information about us, our ancestors, and our genetic makeup Thus, nucleic acids are enormous macromolecules that store, encode, and transfer genetic information from one generation to the next. Friedrich Miescher discovered nucleic acid in 1868 and termed it ‘nuclein’ because he extracted it from the nuclei of white blood cells. Nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) is a long-chain molecule composed of nucleotide monomers. It contains genetic data.
A brief outline of the topic:
Nucleic acid is a naturally occurring chemical molecule that may be broken down to produce phosphoric acid, sugars, and a variety of organic bases (purines and pyrimidines). Nucleic acids are the primary information-carrying molecules in the cell, and they define the inherited properties of all living things by controlling the process of protein synthesis. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are the two major kinds of nucleic acids (RNA). DNA is the master blueprint for life and is found in all free-living creatures and the majority of viruses. RNA is the genetic material of certain viruses, but it is also found in all living cells, where it is vital in activities such as protein synthesis. Polynucleotides or long chainlike molecules made up of a series of nearly identical building blocks called nucleotides, make up nucleic acids. A nitrogen-containing aromatic base is attached to a pentose (five-carbon) sugar, which will then be attached to a phosphate group in each nucleotide.
A brief note:
Nucleotides are polymeric molecules with such a long sequence. Nucleotides are the monomers or repeating units of nucleic acids, and they are sometimes referred to as polynucleotides. Organic materials found in living cells are also known as nucleic acids. It’s crucial for passing down genetic information from one generation to the next. Nucleic acids are polymers of nucleotides made up of DNA-deoxyribonucleic acid and RNA-ribonucleic acid. Nucleotide monomers are connected together in the nucleus and consist of three unique components: a Phosphate Group, Nitrogenous Bases or Ribose, and Deoxyribose. The nitrogenous bases Pyrimidines and Purines are two different forms of nitrogenous bases. Pyrimidines are made up of the amino acids cytosine and thymine. Guanine and adenine are the components of purines.
Types of Nucleic Acids
As previously stated, there are two forms of nucleic acids that are typically found in living creatures. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are the two types of nucleic acids (RNA). DNA is the fundamental genetic substance in living creatures, and it is the source of all genetic information. Every cell in the body, from the tiniest unicellular bacteria to multicellular creatures like elephants and humans, has DNA. DNA may also be found in eukaryotic nuclei, as well as in plants, chloroplasts, and mitochondria. Prokaryotic creatures, on the other hand, do not have a membranous covering around their DNA. DNA is observed floating freely in the cytoplasm of such species. Each cell’s whole genetic machinery is referred to as a genome.
DNA is a kind of nucleic acid.
- In the cells of eukaryotic species, DNA forms a chemical compound called chromatin with histone proteins.
- This, on the other hand, does not happen with prokaryotes. A live organism’s chromosome is a collection of thousands or hundreds of genes that determine the organism’s identity, behavior, habit, and other activities.
- The information in most genes can be used to code for protein products in the body.
- Some of these genes can also be used to make RNA products. DNA regulates every aspect of biological function.
- DNA has a double helix backbone made up of two polynucleotide chains.
This double helix is made up of two DNA strands that run parallel to one another.
- Between the helices, hydrogen bonds occur, and the bases are enclosed in bundles within the helix.
- Due to the presence of phosphate, DNA is negatively charged.
- Phosphoric acid, cyclic nitrogen bases, and pentose sugar make up DNA’s chemical makeup.
- The sugar molecule -D-2-deoxyribose is found in DNA molecules.
- Adenine, guanine, thymine, and cytosine are the cyclic nitrogen bases contained in DNA.
- These bases are essential for storing and transmitting genetic information from one generation to the next.
Structure of RNA
- In eukaryotic cells, RNA is primarily involved in protein synthesis, translation, and transcription of genetic information. During transcription and protein synthesis, DNA molecules interact with the entire cellular machinery via an intermediary messenger RNA, also known as mRNA, which does not leave its origin. Other forms of RNA are involved in protein synthesis. MicroRNA, tRNA, and rRNA are the three types of RNA. Furthermore, RNA is a single-stranded molecule that is frequently seen folded.
- Phosphoric acid, heterocyclic nitrogen bases, and a pentose sugar group are all present in RNA molecules, just as they are in DNA.
- Guanine, adenine, cytosine, and uracil are the heterocyclic bases contained in RNA. Unlike DNA, RNA has a sugar molecule called -D-ribose that is connected to phosphate groups.
RNA is classified into four categories based on the roles it performs. These are the following:
- Messenger RNA: An RNA transcript, also known as messenger RNA, is generated during the transcription process. This is how DNA communicates with the rest of the cells.
- MicroRNA is the smallest of the four different forms of RNA. It is extremely important for gene expression and control.
- Transfer RNAs are involved in the translation of the mRNA transcript that is created during protein synthesis.
- Ribosomal RNA: One of the most important RNAs, ribosomal RNA is a component of ribosomes that aids in the production of proteins in the body and cells.
Structure of Nucleic Acids
- Oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, phosphorus, and, most significantly, carbon make up these critical macromolecules. They are polymers with lengthy chains made out of monomeric components called nucleotides.
- A phosphate group, a 5-carbon sugar, and a particular nitrogen base make up each nucleotide. If the sugar in a nucleotide is ribose, the polymer is known as ribonucleic acid or RNA. Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is the name for sugar deoxyribose.
- These are the most important biomolecules found in living things. They are numerous in all living species and aid in the encoding, creation, and transmission of the genetic information codex of every cell in every organism.
- Furthermore, the nucleic acid structure of DNA and RNA transmits the stored information. The helical backbones of these nucleic acids are made up of a string of nucleotides bound together. DNA usually has two of these backbones, but RNA only has one.
- These are then assembled into nucleobase chains of base pairs. Adenine, guanine, cytosine, uracil, and thymine are the four most common nucleobases. It’s worth noting that uracil is exclusively found in RNA, whereas thymine is only found in DNA.
- The sequences of these nucleobases allow nucleic acids like DNA to store and encode the body’s genetic information through a mix of processes that include protein synthesis utilizing amino acids.
Nucleic Acids Function
- The DNA never leaves its original location, instead of relying on RNA to interact with the rest of the cell.
- During protein synthesis, this intermediate mRNA reaches the nucleus of the cell and forms a connection with one of the DNA strands.
- The nitrogen bases in DNA are arranged in the opposite order. In the bodies of living beings, nucleic acids, namely DNA and RNA, play a critical function. The following are the functions that these perform:
- The nucleic acids aid in the production of proteins in the body.
- RNA is a critical component in the production of proteins. They are complementary to one another. This is referred to as transcription.
- For example, if an RNA strand has the sequence UCC GAA, the DNA strand will have the sequence AAGCTT.
- Furthermore, messenger RNA aids in the transmission of the code from the cell nucleus to the ribosomes. After that, they are put together to make proteins.
- When mRNA reaches the ribosomes, it does not immediately begin to make proteins.
- The transferred RNA, also known as tRNA, binds to the mRNA in this stage and converts the information contained by the mRNA into a readable form.
- This is done in sets of three, known as codons, with opposing base pairs.
- As a result, each three-letter sequence might be a potential codon, containing important instructions and data.
- The genetic code is another name for this relationship.
- Mutation and a range of other disorders can be caused by the loss of nucleic acids, or DNA, in cells.
- The fingerprinting procedure used by forensic professionals relies heavily on DNA. The study of DNA is one of the most thriving disciplines of science, encompassing evolution, anthropology, natural history, and epidemiology. It is often employed in parental disputes as well as criminal cases.
Nucleic acid, nucleic acid is any naturally occurring chemical substance that can be broken down to produce phosphoric acid, sugars, and a variety of organic bases (purines and pyrimidines). Nucleic acids control the process of protein synthesis and, as a result, all cell functions. DNA and RNA, the two primary forms, are made up of identical ingredients but differ in structure and function. Both are lengthy sequences of nucleotides that repeat themselves. The genetic code is made up of the purines and pyrimidines (bases) adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and either thymine (T; in DNA) or uracil (U; in RNA) in groups of three (triplets, or codons) in the nucleotides.
Also read: Mitochondria
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q1). What are nucleic acids’ major components?
Answer: A nucleic acid is a polymer made up of monomeric units called nucleotides that have a lengthy chain. A nucleotide, in turn, is made up of three main parts. A phosphate group, a sugar molecule bound to the phosphate group, and a cyclic nitrogenous base are the three components. Adenosine, thymine, uracil, cytosine, and uracil are the five kinds of nitrogenous bases.
Q2). What is the definition of nucleic acid?
Answer: Large macromolecules that store, encode, and transfer genetic information from one generation to the next are known as nucleic acids. Oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, phosphorus, and, most significantly, carbon make up these critical macromolecules. They are polymers with lengthy chains made out of monomeric components called nucleotides.
Q3). What are nucleic acids and what do they do?
Answer: Nucleic acids aid protein synthesis in the body. In the production of proteins, RNA plays a particularly essential role. The DNA never leaves its original location, instead of relying on RNA to interact with the rest of the cell. The fingerprinting procedure used by forensic professionals relies heavily on DNA.