Nucleic acid
Nucleic acids are biological molecules essential for life, and include DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA
Ribonucleic acid , or RNA, is one of the three major macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life....

 (ribonucleic acid). Together with protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

s, nucleic acids make up the most important macromolecule
A macromolecule is a very large molecule commonly created by some form of polymerization. In biochemistry, the term is applied to the four conventional biopolymers , as well as non-polymeric molecules with large molecular mass such as macrocycles...

s; each is found in abundance in all living things, where they function in encoding, transmitting and expressing genetic information. Nucleic acids were first discovered by Friedrich Miescher
Friedrich Miescher
Johannes Friedrich Miescher was a Swiss physician and biologist. He was the first researcher to isolate and identify nucleic acid.-Biography:...

 in 1871. Experimental studies of nucleic acids constitute a major part of modern biological and medical research, and form a foundation for genome
Genomics is a discipline in genetics concerning the study of the genomes of organisms. The field includes intensive efforts to determine the entire DNA sequence of organisms and fine-scale genetic mapping efforts. The field also includes studies of intragenomic phenomena such as heterosis,...

 and forensic science, as well as the biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

 and pharmaceutical industries.
The term nucleic acid is the overall name for DNA and RNA, members of a family of biopolymer
Biopolymers are polymers produced by living organisms. Since they are polymers, Biopolymers contain monomeric units that are covalently bonded to form larger structures. There are three main classes of biopolymers based on the differing monomeric units used and the structure of the biopolymer formed...

s, and is synonymous with polynucleotide
A polynucleotide molecule is a biopolymer composed of 13 or more nucleotide monomers covalently bonded in a chain. DNA and RNA are examples of polynucleotides with distinct biological function. The prefix poly comes from the ancient Greek πολυς...