deamination of nucleic acids
The spontaneous loss of the amino groups of cytosine (yielding uracil), methyl cytosine (yielding thymine), or of adenine (yielding hypoxanthine). It can be argued that the presence of thymine in DNA in place of the uracil of RNA stabilizes genetic information against this lesion, since repair enzymes would restore the GU base pair to GC.

Dictionary of molecular biology. 2004.

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