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Option B.8 - Nucleic Acids

Option B.8 - Nucleic Acids

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Published by: IB Screwed on Jun 27, 2011
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Option B.8 - Nucleic Acids
B.8.1 - Describe the structure of nucleotides and their condensation polymers (nucleicacids or polynucleotides)
Phosphate Group
A phosphate group (PO
five-carbon sugar
is bound to the phosphate group. InDNA molecules, the nucleotides contain deoxyribose,which has one less -OH group, whilst RNA molecules havenucleotides containing ribose.
The organic nitrogenous bases exist in two forms:
- having two fused rings in their structure. These are adenine and guanine.
- having a single ring in their structure. These are thymine, cytosine anduracil.These three elements come together in a condensation reaction.
are found in RNA, being made of the phosphategroup, ribose sugar and either cytosine, guanine, adenosine oruracil.
are found in DNA, being made of thephosphate group, deoxyribose sugar and either cytosine, guanine,adenosine or thymine.Multiple nucleotides will condense to form long
.They form phosphodiester links along the chain. These bonds formbetween the 3
carbon and the phosphate group, which is attachedto the 5
B.8.2 - Distinguish between the structures of DNA and RNA
In DNA, the sugar is deoxyribose
In RNA, the sugar is ribose.
Both RNA and DNA have the same bases, except for one. DNA contains thymine, whilst RNAcontains uracil.
DNA exists as a double helix, whist RNA exists as a single-strand molecule.
B.8.3 - Explain the double helical structure of DNA
DNA is made up of two polynucleotides that have coiled around each other in a helix. Theorganic bases form hydrogen bonds with their complementary base, called
base pairing
Adenine bonds with thymine
Cytosine bonds with guanineNote that a pyrimidine can only bond with a purine. In thisstructure, the bases are on the inside of the helix, with the
sugar-phosphate backbone
on the outside.The two polynucleotide strands are antiparallel, since they go inopposite directions. The nucleotides can form an infinite numberof combinations, allowing them to form all the different codesnecessary.DNA is stored in the
of the cell.
B.8.4 - Describe the role of DNA as the repository of genetic information, and explain itsrole in protein synthesis
Since each base can only bind with a complementary base, the DNA sequence can act as acode for the copying of genes.
In this process, the DNA double helix unwinds, and the code is copied to form an mRNA(
messenger RNA
) molecule. This is a single short strand that carries only a part of thegenetic information found in the DNA. This allows for a necessary segment of the geneticcode to be copied for use in protein synthesis. The formation of mRNA is based on thepairing of ribonucleotides with a complementary strand of DNA. The smaller mRNA is ableto leave the nucleus for further use elsewhere.
The mRNA molecule then binds to the enzymescalled
so that the code they carry canbe translated. Another molecule, called tRNA(transfer RNA), carries amino acids to theribosome. The base sequence along the mRNAdetermines the primary structure of the protein.Bases are in groups of three, called
. In thisprocess, bases are like letters, and codons are likewords, used to transmit a message. The tRNA has an
that will match a certaincodon. When the tRNA finds its matching codon, the aminoacid it carries becomes part of the polypeptide chain.DNA is found in all living organisms, so it is regarded as the
universal code

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