Nucleic Acid Study Guide--College Prep

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From the experiments conducted by Griffith, biologists inferred that genetic information could be transferred from one bacterium to another through a process called ____


subunit of a nucleic-acid (RNA & DNA); consists of a 5-carbon sugar, a phosphate group, and a nitrogenous base (A, T, G, C, U)

nitrogenous base

an organic base that contains nitrogen, such as a purine or pyrimidine; a part of a nucleotide in DNA or RNA

complementary base pair

the nucleotide bases in one strand of DNA or RNA that are paired with those of another strand; adenine pairs with thymine or uracil, and guanine pairs with cytosine


the five-carbon sugar that is found in DNA nucleotides

base pairing rules

the rules stating that cytosine pairs with guanine in both DNA and RNA and that adenine pairs with thymine in DNA, and that adenine pairs with uracil in RNA

DNA replication

the process of making a copy of DNA; occurs during S phase of Interphase; produces 2 DNA molecules from the original DNA molecule; takes place in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells

semi-conservative replication

in each new DNA double helix, one stand is from the original molecule, and one strand is new


an enzyme that separates, or unwinds, DNA strands so that replication can take place

DNA polymerase

an enzyme that catalyzes the formation of the DNA molecule by adding complementary nucleotides

ribonucleic acid (RNA)

copied from DNA, this nucleic acid moves to the cytoplasm where it is used to make proteins


the process of making RNA by using one strand of a DNA molecule as a template; takes place in the nucleus of the eukaryotic cell


the process of reading the message in mRNA to join amino acids together in a specific sequence, producing a polypeptide chain; takes place at the ribosomes in the cytoplasm of cells

protein synthesis

the formation of proteins by using information contained in DNA and carried by mRNA


a five-carbon sugar present in RNA

messenger RNA (mRNA)

a single-stranded RNA molecule that carries the instructions from a gene to make a protein; functions as a "blueprint" of the genetic code

ribosomal RNA (rRNA)

RNA that interacts with proteins to form the ribosomes

transfer RNA (tRNA)

RNA that pairs with complementary mRNA and carries amino acids to the ribosome to make a protein; has an attachment site for carrying amino acids

RNA polymerase

an enzyme that catalyzes the formation of RNA using a DNA template


a specific nucleotide sequence of DNA where RNA polymerase binds and initiates transcription

genetic code

rules that relate how a sequence of nitrogenous bases in nucleotides corresponds to a particular amino acid


a three-nucleotide sequence in mRNA that codes for a specific amino acid or signifies a start or stop signal for translation


the triplet sequence of nucleotides on tRNA that is complementary to and pairs with the codon of mRNA

double helix

structure of DNA; inferred from the X-Ray photographs of Franklin and Wilkins

alternating sugar and phosphate groups

the parts of a nucleotide that make up the sides of the DNA ladder and are joined together by covalent bonds

hydrogen bonds

join the complementary nitrogenous bases of the two DNA stands to form the "rungs" of a DNA ladder

adenine, thymine, guanine, cytosine

the four nitrogenous bases in DNA nucleotides


found in RNA, but not DNA, it substitutes for the thymine of DNA

replication bubble

multiple sites on a eukaryotic chromosome where DNA replication is occurring; allows replication to occur much more quickly


location of DNA in a eukaryote


location of DNA in a prokaryote (located in the nucleoid region)


genes are segments of a DNA molecule that contain instructions for assembling _____

amino acids

the monomers (subunits) of proteins; 20 different types; the specific order of these monomers determines the function of a protein


the organelle involved in protein synthesis

start codon

the triplet sequence of nucleotides on mRNA where protein synthesis begins; always AUG

stop codons

triplet sequences of nucleotides on mRNA that signals the ribosome to end translation

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