Macromolecules composed of sequences of nucleotides that perform several functions in living cells, e.g. the storage of genetic information and its transfer from one generation to the next (DNA), and the expression of this information in protein synthesis (mRNA, tRNA), and may act as functional components of subcellular units such as ribosomes (rRNA). RNA contains D-ribose, DNA contains 2-deoxy-D-ribose as the sugar component. Currently, synthetic nucleic acids can be made consisting of hundreds of nucleotides. See also oligonucleotide.

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