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What is a macromolecule?
Next Generation: HS.LS1.6 NGSS

What is a macromolecule?

Author: Nathan Lampson

This lesson will introduce macromolecules, and explain that they are polymers made up of smaller monomers.

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The four main types of large biological molecules are called macromolecules.  The types of macromolecules are carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids.  

Cells make macromolecules by joining smaller organic molecules together.  When molecules are linked together they form substances called polymers.  The building blocks of polymers are called monomers.

Proteins are made of only 20 different monomers called amino acids.  Depending on the sequence that amino acids are assembled, different proteins are formed.

Nucleic Acids (DNA/RNA) are made up of only 4 different monomers called nucleotides.

Lipids are the smallest of the macromolecules and are not truly polymers.  The largest type of lipids known as fats are formed by reactions involving several smaller molecules.

Carbohydrates are generally made up of monomers of simple sugar molecules.

This is an image of a a protein polymer made up of many smaller monomers.

What is a macromolecule?