Alternate Nucleic Acid Structures

DNA and RNA have great chemical similarities in their structures. In their basic and primary structures, both are linear polymers composed of monomers (single chemical units), which are called nucleotides. DNA and RNA each generally consists of only four different nucleotides. All nucleotides have a common and basic structure: a phosphate group linked by a phosphodiester bond to a pentose (a five-carbon sugar molecule) that in turn is linked to an organic base. In RNA, the pentose is ribose and in DNA, it is deoxyribose.  The only vital difference in the nucleotides of DNA and RNA is that one of the four organic bases differs between the two polymers. The bases adenine, guanine, and cytosine are found in both DNA and RNA and thymine is found only in DNA, and uracil is found only in RNA. It’s been known for some time that the DNA molecule can bend and flex something like a rope ladder just the way they were originally and earlier described by James Watson and Francis Crick, who proposed the spiral-staircase structure in 1953 but some discoveries have revealed alternative structures which are more to be studied.

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