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Write the biological importance of nucleic acid.

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Last updated date: 23rd Feb 2024
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Hint :Nucleic acid is a complex organic substance present in living cells, which is made of many molecules called nucleotides, linked together in a long chain. There are two main types of nucleic acids present.

Complete Step By Step Answer:
Nucleic acids are naturally occurring chemical compounds that are present in living cells of most organisms.
They are of two main classifications – deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).
They consist of long chains of linked molecules called nucleotides. These nucleotides, based on their composition, serve certain functions as well.
Each nucleotide consists of a nitrogen-containing aromatic base attached to a pentose (five-sugar molecule) sugar, which is then attached to a phosphate group.
The type of aromatic base decides which kind of nucleotide it is. The bases are: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), thymine (T) and uracil (U).
A and G are classified as purines, while C, T and U are pyridines. A, G, C and T are present in DNA molecules, while T is substituted for U in RNA molecules.
They are vital to the functioning of the living being, not just the functioning of the cell.
They primarily serve as information-carrying molecules in living cells. They contain important genetic information.
They keep track of hereditary information in a cell so that the cell can function effectively.
They are also important in the expression of the stored genetic material as they direct the protein-synthesis process and inform the relevant entities of how to form protein molecules.
DNA is also responsible for the transmission of hereditary characters from one generation to another.

Additional Information:
DNA has the double helical structure that most of us are familiar with. However, some organisms can have different shaped DNA. For example, bacteria and archaea have smaller circular DNA molecules called plasmids that generally contain only a few genes, unlike the billions present in human DNA.
DNA is the more chemically stable nucleic acid and does not mutate as much. However, RNA is chemically unstable and is prone to mutations.

Note :
Such questions require an understanding of the structure of genes and the functions of each of the elements. While there are a lot of terms to remember, once you understand the concept, you will mostly not require further clarifications. You could use diagrams and other methods to understand the structure of the genetic information carried in our cells.
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