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nucleic acid

Pronunciation: nu-kle'ik as'id

Definition: A family of macromolecules, of molecular masses ranging upward from 25,000, found in the chromosomes, nucleoli, mitochondria, and cytoplasm of all cells, and in viruses; in complexes with proteins, they are called nucleoproteins. On hydrolysis they yield purines, pyrimidines, phosphoric acid, and a pentose, either d-ribose or d-deoxyribose; from the last, the nucleic acids derive their more specific names, ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid. Nucleic acids are linear (unbranched) chains of nucleotides in which the 5'-phosphoric group of each one is esterified with the 3'-hydroxyl of the adjoining nucleotide.

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review date: Sep 19, 2016.