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Nucleic Acids: General Properties

  1. Garrett A Soukup

Published Online: 28 MAY 2003

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0001335



How to Cite

Soukup, G. A. 2003. Nucleic Acids: General Properties. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 MAY 2003


Nucleic acids are biological polymers generally composed of four different monomer units termed nucleotides. The unit length of one molecule can be as much as one billion nucleotides. Although the biological roles that nucleic acids fulfil are diverse, the structure and function of each molecule is elaborated from a common set of general properties.


  • DNA;
  • RNA;
  • double helix;
  • hairpin;
  • base pair;
  • hydrogen bond