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Module 11 in the Syllabus

Nucleic Acids Images
Image gallery for study with links to larger teaching JPEGs for classroom presentation

Question Drill for Nucleic Acids
Conceptual Vocabulary Self-Test

Basic Terms Crossword Puzzle

Basic Puzzle Solution

Conceptual Vocabulary
RNARibonucleic acid or RNA is a nucleic acid polymer consisting of nucleotide monomers, which plays a number of important roles in the processes of translating genetic information from DNA into proteins.
DNADNA is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms.
Messenger RNAMessenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) is a molecule of RNA encoding a chemical blueprint for a protein product.
Base pairTwo nucleotides on opposite complementary DNA or RNA strands that are connected via hydrogen bonds are called a base pair.
NucleobaseNucleobases are the parts of RNA and DNA that may be involved in pairing. These include cytosine, guanine, adenine, thymine, uracil, xanthine and hypoxanthine.
NucleotideA nucleotide is a chemical compound that consists of 3 portions: a heterocyclic base, a sugar, and one or more phosphate groups.
AdenineAdenine is a purine with a variety of roles in biochemistry including cellular respiration, as part of ATP, NAD, and FAD, and protein synthesis, as a chemical component of DNA and RNA
Adenosine triphosphateAdenosine triphosphate is a multifunctional nucleotide that is most important as a molecular currency of intracellular energy transfer.
ChromatinChromatin is the complex of DNA and protein that makes up chromosomes
HistoneHistones are the chief protein components of chromatin, acting as spools around which DNA winds, and playing a role in gene regulation.
GuanineGuanine is one of the five main nucleobases found in the nucleic acids DNA and RNA. In base-pairing it binds to cytosine through three hydrogen bonds.
UracilThe pyrimidine uracil base pairs with adenine in RNA and is replaced by thymine in DNA
ThymineThymine is one of the four bases in the nucleic acid of DNA along with adenine, guanine, and cytosine. It always base-pairs with adenine.
CytosineCytosine is one of the five main nucleobases found in the nucleic acids DNA and RNA. It is a pyrimidine derivative. In Watson-Crick base pairing, it forms three hydrogen bonds with guanine.
Transfer RNATransfer RNA (abbreviated tRNA) is a small RNA chain that transfers a specific amino acid to a growing polypeptide chain at the ribosomal site of protein synthesis during translation.
Ribosomal RNARibosomal RNA (rRNA), a type of RNA synthesized in the nucleolus, is the central component of the ribosome, the protein manufacturing machinery of all living cells.
PurinePurine is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound, consisting of a pyrimidine ring fused to an imidazole ring.
PyrimidinePyrimidine is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound similar to benzene and pyridine, containing two nitrogen atoms at positions 1 and 3 of the six-member ring
AdenosineAdenosine is a nucleoside composed of adenine attached to a ribose moiety via a beta-N9-glycosidic bond.
NucleosideNucleosides are glycosylamines made by attaching a nucleobase to a ribose or deoxyribose ring.
ComplementarityComplementarity is a property of double-stranded nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA as well as DNA:RNA duplexes in which base pairs occur between them characterized by non-covalent connections via hydrogen bonds.
NucleosomeNucleosomes are the fundamental repeating subunits of all eukaryotic chromatin. Each is made up of DNA and four pairs of proteins called histones.
UridineUridine is a nucleoside formed when uracil is attached to a ribose ring via a beta-N1-glycosidic bond.
CytidineCytidine is a nucleoside that is formed when cytosine is attached to a ribose ring via a beta-N1-glycosidic bond.
Cyclic adenosine monophosphateCyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP or cyclic AMP) is a molecule that is important in many biological processes.
StackingStacking in supramolecular chemistry refers to a stacked arrangement of aromatic molecules, which interact through aromatic interactions.
DeoxyadenosineDeoxyadenosine is deoxyribonucleotide and is considered a derivative of the nucleoside adenosine.
GuanosineGuanosine is a nucleoside comprising guanine attached to a ribose ring via a beta-N9-glycosidic bond.
Advanced terms that may appear in context in MCAT passages
Adenosine monophosphateAdenosine monophosphate, also known as AMP, is the ester of phosphoric acid with the nucleoside adenosine.
OligonucleotideOligonucleotides are short sequences of nucleotides (RNA or DNA), typically with twenty or fewer bases.
DNA meltingDNA melting, also called DNA denaturation, is the process by which double-stranded deoxyribonucleic acid unwinds and separates into single-stranded strands through the breaking of hydrogen bonding between the bases.
DNA supercoilIf a DNA segment under twist strain were to be closed into a circle by joining its two ends and then it is allowed to move freely, the circular DNA would contort into new shape, such as a simple figure-eight. Such a contortion is called a supercoil.
A-DNAA-DNA is one of the many possible double helical structures of DNA. It is a right-handed double helix fairly similar to the more common and well-known B-DNA form, but with a shorter more compact helical structure.
Z-DNAZ-DNA is one of the many possible double helical structures of DNA. It is a left-handed double helical structure in which the double helix winds to the left in a zig-zag pattern (instead of to the right, like the more common B-DNA form).
G-quadruplexNucleic acid sequences which are rich in guanine are capable of forming four-stranded structures called G-quadruplexes (Also known as G-tetrads or G4-DNA).

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