Encyclopedia > Nucleic acid nomenclature

  Article Content

Nucleic acid nomenclature

Molecular biologists use several shorthands when referring to nucleic acid molecules such as DNA and RNA.

The most common is the representation of the base pairs as letters - an adenine nucleotide is abbreviated as A, guanine as G, cytosine as C, thymine as T, and in RNA, uracil as U.

Additionally the positions of the carbons in the ribose sugar that forms the backbone of the nucleic acid chain are numbered as follows:

Since the hydroxyl group attached to the 3' carbon of one base attaches to the phosphate group attached to the 5' carbon of the next base, 5' and 3' are often used to indicate the polarity of a DNA strand, e.g. "5' to 3'" and "3' to 5'". This is especially important as regards polymerization, where polymerization enzymes move exclusively from 5' to 3' along a DNA strand.



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
 
 
  
  Featured Article
1942 in film

... 13 - Peter Tork, musician/actor. July 13 - Harrison Ford, Actor/producer Deaths January 16 - Carole Lombard, actress November 5 - George M. Cohan, actor, ...