Biology as Poetry: Biochemistry

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Polynucleic Acid

More than one nucleotide linked together using phosphodiester linkages.

Typically many more than two. This is a means by which one can distinguish among nucleic acids, which consist of either individual nucleotides or nucleosides and instead as polymers of these subunits, with polynucleic acids, of course, referring to the polymers. Chromosomes, minimally, consist of of polynucleic acid as also do plasmids, viroids, and the genomes of viruses.

Whenever one refers to a double helix, one is referring to a polynucleic acid. Also included among polynucleic acids, however, are single-stranded DNA or RNA molecules. The probes employed in Southern blotting thus consist of polynucleic acid, often referred to to as oligomers, and so too is the case in general for nucleic acid hybridization technologies.

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