Nucleic Acids: What You Need to Know

You may have heard the term “nucleic acids” before, most likely in relation to organic chemistry. Nucleic acid is a naturally occurring chemical compound that is later broken down into sugar, a mixture of organic bases, and phosphoric acid. In the most basic terms, nucleic acid is responsible for carrying information in the cell (and between cells) and controlling and directing processes such as protein synthesis, amongst others, too. 

For those who need a little refresher, protein synthesis is when the cell creates a protein, responsible for overall cell structure and function. Now that is cleared up, the remainder of this article will discuss more about nucleic acids, beginning with the different types: DNA and RNA. And yes, you’ve probably heard of at least one of these before.

What are the different types of nucleic acids?

The two most well-known types of nucleic acids are DNA and RNA. DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid, a mouthful we know, while RNA stands for Ribonucleic Acid, also not the easiest to say the first time. Although it gets easier, we promise.

DNA is multi-stranded and carries genetic instructions for the development of cells and other living things – DNA is who we are and who we will become. On the other hand, RNA is single-stranded, used in a variety of biological roles such as coding and decoding and the expression of different genes. Nucleic acids, specifically, RNA are also found in living cells and are the genetic material of specific viruses, further playing a key role in the generation of protein and protein synthesis. 

To conclude 

Nucleic acids are surprisingly stable proteins that transfer genetic material between cells with little to no information lost. So, in conclusion, this acid acid is responsible for carrying information between cells and also play a key role in other processes, such as protein synthesis.

There are also two main types of acids: DNA and RNA, each of which performs slightly different jobs from one another.

Posted in