Nucleic acid

The Swiss scientist Friedrich Miescher discovered nucleic acids (DNA) in 1869.[notes 1] Later, he raised the idea that they could be involved in heredity.[1]

Nucleic acids are the biopolymers, or small biomolecules, essential to all known forms of life. The term nucleic acid is the overall name for DNA and RNA. They are composed of nucleotides, which are the monomers made of three components: a 5-carbon sugar, a phosphate group and a nitrogenous base. If the sugar is a compound ribose, the polymer is RNA (ribonucleic acid); if the sugar is derived from ribose as deoxyribose, the polymer is DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).

Nucleic acids are the most important of all biomolecules. They are found in abundance in all living things, where they function to create and encode and then store information in the nucleus of every living cell of every life-form organism on Earth. In turn, they function to transmit and express that information inside and outside the cell nucleus—to the interior operations of the cell and ultimately to the next generation of each living organism. The encoded information is contained and conveyed via the nucleic acid sequence, which provides the 'ladder-step' ordering of nucleotides within the molecules of RNA and DNA.

Strings of nucleotides are bonded to form helical backbones—typically, one for RNA, two for DNA—and assembled into chains of base-pairs selected from the five primary, or canonical, nucleobases, which are: adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine, and uracil; note, thymine occurs only in DNA and uracil only in RNA. Using amino acids and the process known as protein synthesis,[2] the specific sequencing in DNA of these nucleobase-pairs enables storing and transmitting coded instructions as genes. In RNA, base-pair sequencing provides for manufacturing new proteins that determine the frames and parts and most chemical processes of all life forms.


Experimental studies of nucleic acids constitute a major part of modern biological and medical research, and form a foundation for genome and forensic science, and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.[6][7][8]

Other Languages
العربية: حمض نووي
asturianu: Ácidu nucleico
Bân-lâm-gú: Hu̍t-sng
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Нуклійныя кісьлі
català: Àcid nucleic
Ελληνικά: Νουκλεϊκά οξέα
español: Ácido nucleico
Esperanto: Nukleata acido
français: Acide nucléique
한국어: 핵산
Bahasa Indonesia: Asam nukleat
íslenska: Kjarnsýra
italiano: Acidi nucleici
Basa Jawa: Asem nukléyat
Kreyòl ayisyen: Asid nikleyik
latviešu: Nukleīnskābes
Lëtzebuergesch: Nukleinsaier
magyar: Nukleinsavak
Bahasa Melayu: Asid nukleik
Nederlands: Nucleïnezuur
日本語: 核酸
norsk nynorsk: Nukleinsyre
occitan: Acid nucleïc
português: Ácido nucleico
română: Acid nucleic
русиньскый: Нуклеовы квасы
Seeltersk: Nukleinsüüren
sicilianu: Àcitu nuclèicu
Simple English: Nucleic acid
slovenčina: Nukleová kyselina
slovenščina: Nukleinska kislina
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Nukleinska kiselina
Basa Sunda: Asam nukléat
svenska: Nukleinsyra
Türkçe: Nükleik asit
Tiếng Việt: Axit nucleic
吴语: 核酸
粵語: 核酸
中文: 核酸