Nucleic Acid-Definition, Types, Structure and Function


From the nuclei of pus cell in 1868 Friedrich Miescher isolated an acidic substance, he called it nucleic acid. 

A nucleic acid are macromolecules, which means they are molecules composed of many smaller molecules unit. This unit called nucleotides, and they are chemically linked to one another in a chain. A major function of nucleic acids involves the storage and expression of genomic material. The two major types of nucleic acids are Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). The DNA and RNA are responsible for the inheritance and transmission of specific characteristic from one generation to the other generation.


Nucleic Acid Definition Types structure and Function

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)

It contain deoxyribose sugar. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, carry genetic information and they pass one generation to the next generation. DNA has a double-standard helical structure in which the stands are complementary each other. The information in DNA stored as a code made up of four nitrogen-containing nucleobases adenine(A), guanine(G), cytosine(C), and thymine(T). Human DNA consist of about 3 billion bases, and ore than 99 percent of those bases are the same in all people.

Ribonucleic acid (RNA)

 It contain ribose sugar. DNA, or ribonucleic acid, plays a key role in turning the instruction held in the DNA of your genome into functional proteins in your cell. RNA is a single-stranded molecules. The heterocyclic bases present in RNA are adenine(A), guanine(G), cytosine(C), and uracil(U). In both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, there are three main types of RNA-

        1. Messenger RNA (m-RNA).

        2. Ribosomal RNA (r-RNA).

        3. Transfer RNA (t-RNA).

Function of nucleic acids

  • The primary function of nucleic acids, are naturally occurring DNA and RNA is to store and transfer of genetic material.
  • In all living cells, DNA holds genetic information and RNA transfers genetic information from DNA to the ribosome.
  • DNA fingerprinting is a technique that show the genetic makeup of a person or other living things. 
  • It is responsible for protein synthesis in our body. 

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