Nucleic Acid Synthesis

NUCLEIC ACIDS are involved in the most fundamental processes of life. Their maintenance and production are essential in all living organisms. The hallmark of the biosphere is diversity of biological processes, even among members of the same genera, e.g., bacteria. Each organism may have some unique features in regard to nucleic acid composition, structure, and metabolism. Thus, studies on nucleic acid synthesis constitute a huge topic of research on which thousands of research articles are published each year. Therefore, it is impossible to cover all aspects of nucleic acid synthesis in this short article. Our goal is to present a broad overview of the key and general features of structure, synthesis, and processing of the various types of nucleic acids. We have limited our discussion mostly to bacteria, specifically Escherichia coli, and to mammals, mostly humans and mice. Most of our current knowledge has been derived from the studies of those organisms.

We have also provided appropriate references, which are mostly recent reviews. The readers should be able to peruse these for in-depth knowledge of the topics which are covered only superficially here. Finally, we have included a glossary at the beginning of this article which lists common acronyms and short descriptions of key processes and phenomena.

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