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Key Concepts

Nucleic Acids I:
the Nucleotides

Nucleic acid monomers are the most complex. Chains of these monomers, the polynucleotides function as information storage, distribution and transmission agents for almost all living things.

    Key concepts:
  • the nucleotide is the monomer for both major classes of polynucleotide.
  • a nucleotide consists of a 5-carbon sugar, a phosphate group and a nitrogenous base (a complicated chemical group of one or two linked rings of carbon and nitrogen)
  • two different sugars, ribose and deoxyribose, are used in the two major classes of nucleotide.
  • five common nitrogenous bases, adenine, guanine, cytosine, thymine and uracil are components of nucleotides.
  • in theory therefore there could be ten different nucleotides, but nature only uses eight of the possible ten.

Science@a Distance
© 2001, Professor John Blamire