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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1898, from German purin (Fischer), said to be from Latin purum, neuter of purus "clean, pure" (see pure) + Modern Latin uricum "uric acid" + chemical suffix -ine (2).


n. (context organic compound English) Any of a class of organic heterocyclic compounds composed of fused pyrimidine and imidazole rings that comprise one of the two groups of organic nitrogenous bases (the other being the pyrimidines) and are components of nucleic acids.

  1. n. any of several bases that are derivatives of purine

  2. a colorless crystalline nitrogen-containing organic base; the parent compound of various biologically important substances


A purine is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound. It consists of a pyrimidine ring fused to an imidazole ring. Purines, which include substituted purines and their tautomers, are the most widely occurring nitrogen-containing heterocycle in nature.

Purines and pyrimidines make up the two groups of nitrogenous bases, including the two groups of nucleotide bases. Two of the four deoxyribonucleotides ( deoxyadenosine and deoxyguanosine) and two of the four ribonucleotides ( adenosine, or AMP, and guanosine, or GMP), the respective building blocks of DNA and RNA, are purines. In order to form DNA and RNA, both purines and pyrimidines are needed by the cell in approximately equal quantities. Both purine and pyrimidine are self- inhibiting and activating. When purines are formed, they inhibit the enzymes required for more purine formation. This self-inhibition occurs as they also activate the enzymes needed for pyrimidine formation. Pyrimidine simultaneously self-inhibits and activates purine in similar manner. Because of this, there is nearly an equal amount of both substances in the cell at all times.

Usage examples of "purine".

Molecular neo-Mendelism is consistent with the rules of gross segregation and assortment, requiring no metaphysical rulesjust the constraints laid down by chemists: purine with pyrimidine, electrons in the lowest energetic state.

A, G, C, and T usually stood for the nucleotides, plus two more named PU-3 and PY-3, indicating an addition purine and pyrimidine.

One structural unit of nucleic acids such as DNA is a purine, a dicyclic nitrogen-containing molecule.

Lanhoff find any evidence of porphyrins, or nitrogen compounds like purines and pyrimidines?

One structural unit of nucleic acids such as DNA is a purine, a dicyclic nitrogen-containing molecule.

Results of cyanogen and nitrile polymerization, including imidazole, purines, pyrimidines.

Science had long known that organic chemistry would come up with the same amino acids, the same purines and pyrimidines under a wide variety of circumstances.

In addition, DNA, which combines a pyrmidine or purine base with a sugar backbone is just one of a whole family of molecules that could carry genetic information in the same type of highly stable helical structure.

Neither DNA nor RNA has appeared, but the building blocks of these large molecules, called purines and pyrimidines, have.