Base analog

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A base analog is chemical that can substitute for a normal nucleobase in nucleic acids.

They are categorized in two separate groups, purine analogues and pyrimidine analogues.

One of the most common base analogs is 5-bromouracil (5BU), the abnormal base found in the mutagenic nucleotide analog BrdU. When a nucleotide containing 5-bromouracil is incorporated into the DNA, it is most likely to pair with adenine; however, it can spontaneously shift into another isomer which pairs with a different nucleobase, guanine. If this happens during DNA replication, a guanine will be inserted as the opposite base analog, and in the next DNA replication, that guanine will pair with a cytosine. This results in a change in one base pair of DNA, specifically a transition mutation.

Mutagenesis by 5BU

See also[edit]


  • Griffiths AJ, Wessler SR, Lewontin RC, Gelbart WM, Suzuki DT, Miller JH. Introduction to Genetic Analysis, 8th ed. New York:W.H.Freeman and Co, 2005.