Tag Info

For questions regarding nucleic acids, their properties, structures, functions etc.

What are Nucleic Acids?

Deoxyribonucleic acid (/diˈɒksiˌraɪboʊnjʊˌkliːɪk, -ˌkleɪɪk/;DNA) is a molecule that carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses. DNA and RNA are nucleic acids; alongside proteins, lipids and complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides), they are one of the four major types of macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life. Most DNA molecules consist of two biopolymer strands coiled around each other to form a double helix.

DNA is a polymer of nucleotides. Nucleotides are certain biological molecules that are composed of nuclear bases, a deoxyribose sugar group, and a phosphate group.

Nuclear Base: Nuclear bases are nitrogenous bases found inside cell nuclei. There are four nuclear bases: Adenine, Guanine, Thymine, and Cytosine.

These bases are capable of forming hydrogen bonds. Adenine and Thymine each form two $\ce{H}$-bonds, while Cytosine and Guanine form three $\ce{H}$-bonds. As a result, Adenine is complementary to Thymine, and Guanine is complementary to Cytosine.

Deoxyribose sugar: This sugar serves as a backbone for DNA.

Notice that the carbons are marked with numbers. The nuclear base binds at the $\ce{-OH}$ group at 1' carbon, and phosphate groups bind at the 3' and 5' carbons. That's why every DNA strand has a 3' end and a 5' end. Two strands are kept hydrogen bonded to each other, and are antiparallel. A resulting nucleotide would look like this:

Where do I use this tag?

You will use this tag for questions regarding the structure and properties of the Nucleic Acids.