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Figure 4. Pyrolysis mass spectra of DNA and RNA. Note the absence of signals from the nucleic acid bases and the dominance of water-loss fragments from the deoxyribose and ribose moieties, respectively. Peaks marked with * in the RNA spectrum denote possible contamination with hexose-type compounds. Conditions:

Figure 4. Pyrolysis mass spectra of DNA and RNA. Note the absence of signals from the nucleic acid bases and the dominance of water-loss fragments from the deoxyribose and ribose moieties, respectively. Peaks marked with * in the RNA spectrum denote possible contamination with hexose-type compounds. Conditions:

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A highly interesting third degradation pathway appears to be direct scission of the polymer chain into nucleotides (mono- or diphosphates) or even dinucleotides, as observed by Schulten et al. (ref. 62). These large phosphate-containing products cannot be expected to produce significant molecular ion signals using electron impact ionisation techniques, even if they somehow might reach the ion source.

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