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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms


ribonucleic acid  listen  (RY-boh-noo-KLAY-ik A-sid)

  One of two types of nucleic acid made by cells. Ribonucleic acid contains information that has been copied from DNA (the other type of nucleic acid). Cells make several different forms of ribonucleic acid, and each form has a specific job in the cell. Many forms of ribonucleic acid have functions related to making proteins. Ribonucleic acid is also the genetic material of some viruses instead of DNA. Ribonucleic acid can be made in the laboratory and used in research studies. Also called RNA.