Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of a group of complex compounds found in all living cells and viruses, composed of purines, pyrimidines, carbohydrates, and phosphoric acid. Nucleic acids in the form of DNA and RNA control cellular function and heredity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any acidic, chainlike biological macromolecule consisting of multiply repeat units of phosphoric acid, sugar and purine and pyrimidine bases; they are involved in the preservation, replication and expression of hereditary information in every living cell

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A natural or synthetic polymer consisting of chains of ribonucleotide or deoxyribonucleotide units.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (biochemistry) any of various macromolecules composed of nucleotide chains that are vital constituents of all living cells

Etymologies

nucleic (of the nucleus) + acid (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Ribonucleic acid, a nucleic acid of high molecular weight that synthesizes proteins and acts in cell replication.

    Alcohol and The Addictive Brain

  • Well, 'twas only a few years past that Dr. Benjamin S. Frank discovered that beets build up the blood, stimulate the liver (which is our main organ o" purification), and supply a body with nucleic acid, nucleic acid being absolutely essential to the efficient reproduction o" youthful cell structure.

    La insistencia de J├╝rgen Fauth

  • They homogenized material from the brain stem area of rats and combined it in a test tube with radioactive dopamine, vitamin C, and a chemical derived from nucleic acid called NAD.

    Alcohol and The Addictive Brain

  • I hurtled up the wonderful ancient staircase (a double helical spiral that curiously is a better model of nucleic acid even than that flashy Watson-Crick mock-up in Cambridge).

    The Vatican Rip

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