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A large molecule consisting of many identical or similar molecular units, called monomers, covalently joined together in a chain


The subunit that serves as the building block of a polymer

double helix

The form of native DNA, referring to its two adjacent polynucleotide strands wound into a spiral shape


A type of nucleic acid consisting of nucleotide monomers with a ribose sugar and the nitrogenous bases adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and uracil (U); usually single-stranded; functions in protein synthesis and as the genome of some viruses


A double-stranded, helical nucleic acid molecule capable of replicating and determining the inherited structure of a cell's proteins

condensation reaction/dehydration reaction

a reaction in which two molecules become covalently bonded to each other through the loss of a small molecule, usually water


A storage polysaccharide in plants consisting entirely of glucose


An extensively branched glucose storage polysaccharide found in the liver and muscle of animals; the animal equivalent of starch.


The building block of a nucleic acid, consisting of a five-carbon sugar covalently bonded to a nitrogenous base and a phosphate group


a simple sugar that is the basic subunit, or monomer, of a carbohydrate

fatty acid

Type of lipid, A long, straight hydrocarbon chain with a carboxyl group attached at one end. Three of these linked to a glycerol molecule form fat.


a type of lipid characterized by a carbon skeleton consisting of four rings with various functional groups attached


A steroid that forms an essential component of animal cell membranes and acts as a precursor molecule for the synthesis of other biologically important steroids


A polymer of up to over a thousand monosaccharides, formed by dehydration reactions


A sugar (monosaccharide) or one of its dimers (disaccharides) or polymers (polysaccharides)


A biological compound consisting of three faty acids linked to one glycerol molecule

nucleic acid

A polymer (polynucleotide) consisting of many nucleotide monomers; serves as a blueprint for proteins and, through the actions of proteins, for all cellular activities. The two types are DNA and RNA.


A discrete unit of hereditary information consisting of a specific nucleotide sequence in DNA (or RNA, in some viruses)


A double sugar, consisting of two monosaccharides joined by dehydration synthesis


A chemical process that lyses, or splits, molecules by the addition of water; an essential process in digestion


One of a family of compounds, including fats, phospholipids, and steroids, that are insoluble in water


Has a six-membered ring of carbon and nitrogen atoms. The members of this family are cytosine (C), thymine (T), and uracil (U)


The sugar component of RNA nucleotides


A structural polysaccharide of cell walls, consisting of glucose monomers joined by b-1, 4-glycosidic linkages


A structural polysaccharide of an amino sugar found in many fungi and in the exoskeletons of all arthropods

peptide bond

The covalent bond between two amino acid units, formed by a dehydration reaction/condensation synthesis


Are larger (than pyrimidines), with the six-membered ring fused to a five-membered ring. Examples are adenine (A) and guanine (G)


A three-dimensional biological polymer constructed from a set of 20 different monomers called amino acids


A polymer (chain) of many amino acids linked together by peptide bonds

amino acid

An organic molecule possessing both carboxyl and amino groups. They serve as the monomers of proteins.

primary structure

The level of protein structure referring to the specific sequence of amino acids.

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