chemical compound in DNA and RNA

Adenine is one of the nucleobase or basic molecules which form DNA and RNA. They are usually called Nitrogenous bases in genetics.

Adenine chemical structure


In DNA, adenine sticks to thymine with two hydrogen bonds to help in making the nucleic acid structures stronger. In RNA, which is used in the cytoplasm for protein synthesis, adenine sticks to uracil.


Adenine was sometimes called Vitamin B4, but no longer.[1] However, two B vitamins, niacin and riboflavin, bind with adenine to form the essential cofactors NAD and FAD respectively.

Adenine when bonded to ribose forms adenosine, part of molecules such as adenosine triphosphate.

Some think that, at the origin of life on Earth, the first adenine was formed by the polymerization (joining) of five hydrogen cyanide (HCN) molecules. This is not generally accepted.[2]


  1. Vera Reader (1930). "The assay of vitamin B4". Biochem J. 24 (6): 1827–31. doi:10.1042/bj0241827. PMC 1254803. PMID 16744538.
  2. Shapiro, Robert (1995). "The prebiotic role of adenine: A critical analysis". Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres. 25 (1–3): 83–98. doi:10.1007/BF01581575. PMID 11536683. S2CID 21941930. Archived from the original on 2020-03-26. Retrieved 2007-09-21.

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