noun[mass noun] Biochemistry
A compound which is one of the four constituent bases of nucleic acids. A pyrimidine derivative, it is paired with adenine in double-stranded DNA.
- Alternative name; 5-methyluracil; chemical formula: C5H6N2O2.
- The derivatives of purine are called adenine and guanine, and the derivatives of pyrimidine are called thymine, cytosine and uracil.
- Of the four bases that make up DNA - adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine - only cytosine has the potential to be methylated in humans and most mammals.
- In DNA the bases pair to form a ladder-like structure, with adenine paired with thymine and guanine with cytosine.
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