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A monomer is the singular unit that can join with other monomers to create complex polymers. An example of a monomer is glucose, which can then combine to form glycogen. Another example would be the use of beta-glucose monomers in formation of the polymer cellulose. Besides that, amino acids are monomers which are the basic building block for protein.

The word monomer is derived from the greek "mono" meaning one and "meros" meaning part. A monomer is an atom or molecule, which acts as a building block and may react chemically with other molecules of the same type (other monomers) in order to form longer chain molecules (polymers).

A common natural example of a monomer is glucose which forms glycosidic bonds. The resulting polymers are cellulose or starch.

It should be noted that polymers of smaller molecular weights can be referred to as dimers (2 sub-units), trimers (3 sub-units) etc.[1]


  1. Alberts et al. Molecular Biology of the Cell (5th Edition), 2008
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