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Organic compound of the pyrimidine family, often called a base, consisting of a ring containing both nitrogen and carbon atoms. It occurs in combined form in many important biological molecules, including RNA and several coenzymes active in carbohydrate metabolism. During synthesis of an RNA strand from DNA, uracil pairs with adenine. It or its corresponding nucleoside or nucleotide may be prepared from RNA by selective techniques of hydrolysis.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on uracil, visit Britannica.com.