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nucleic acid

[ noo-klee-ik, -kley-, nyoo- ]
/ nuˈkli ɪk, -ˈkleɪ-, nyu- /
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See synonyms for: nucleic acid / nucleic acids on Thesaurus.com

noun Biochemistry.
any of a group of long, linear macromolecules, either DNA or various types of RNA, that carry genetic information directing all cellular functions: composed of linked nucleotides.

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Origin of nucleic acid

1890–95; nucle(us) + -ic; compare German Nucleïnsäure (1889)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use nucleic acid in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for nucleic acid

nucleic acid
/ (njuːˈkliːɪk, -ˈkleɪ-) /

noun
biochem any of a group of complex compounds with a high molecular weight that are vital constituents of all living cellsSee also RNA, DNA
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for nucleic acid

nucleic acid
[ nōō-klēĭk ]

Any of a group of very large polymeric nucleotides that constitute the genetic material of living cells and viruses and that code for the amino acid sequences of proteins. Nucleic acids consist of either one or two long chains of repeating units called nucleotides, which consist of a nitrogen base (a purine or pyrimidine) attached to a sugar phosphate. The two main nucleic acids are DNA and RNA. In DNA, the nitrogen bases along the length of one chain are linked to complementary bases in the other chain by hydrogen bonds, and both chains coil around each other in a double helix. Particular sequences of nucleotides constitute genes and encode instructions for sequences of amino acids when proteins are synthesized. In RNA, which is usually single-stranded, complementary bases within the single strand may pair with each other, forming structures other than a double helix. See more at DNA RNA.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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