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Published July 1, 1952 | public
Journal Article

On a phospho-tri-anhydride formula for the nucleic acids


Last year Dr. Edward Ronwin suggested a phospho-tri-anhydride formula for the nucleic acids, with as its core a polymer chain of phosphorus atoms held together by oxygen atoms, each phosphorus atom having five oxygen atoms attached to it, of which three bind it to adjacent phosphorus atoms, one is in a hydroxyl group, and one is in a sugar ester group. We then stated that in formulating a hypothetical structure for a substance one must take care that the structural elements of which use is made are reasonable ones or one must show that there is an overwhelming necessity for a radical proposal, that there is no precedent for a structure in which phosphorus is bonded to five oxygen atoms, that in every one of the scores of quinque-positive phosphorus compounds that have been subjected to complete structural investigation the phosphorus atom is surrounded by four oxygen atoms, and that the ligation of five oxygen atoms about each phosphorus atom is such an unlikely structural feature that the proposed phospho-trianhydride formula for the nucleic acids deserves no serious consideration.

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© 1952 American Chemical Society. Received June 7, 1952.

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