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Chemistry LibreTexts

Nucleic Acids

The nucleic acids are informational molecules because their primary structure contains a code or set of directions by which they can duplicate themselves and guide the synthesis of proteins. The synthesis of proteins - most of which are enzymes - ultimately governs the metabolic activities of the cell. In 1953, Watson, an American biologist, and Crick, an English biologist, proposed the double helix structure for DNA. This development set the stage for a new and continuing era of chemical and biological investigation. The two main events in the life of a cell - dividing to make exact copies of themselves, and manufacturing proteins - both rely on blueprints coded in our genes.