Structure

The nucleic acids are fundamental to genetics and to metabolism. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is found in the chromosomes within the nucleus and the mitochondria, and it contains the genetic information. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is found both in the nucleus and in the surrounding cytoplasm, and its various forms fulfill several tasks associated with the transfer of the genetic message and its eventual translation into proteins.

Each nucleic acid is a linear polymer of nucleotides (Figure 1A). Nucleosides, the related small molecules, consist of a pentose sugar bound to the N-9 atom of a purine or to the N-1 of the

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