Deoxyribonucleic mountain (DNA) and Ribonucleic acid (RNA) are probably the most important molecules in cell biology, responsible because that the storage and also reading of genetic information that underpins all life. They room both direct polymers, consist of of sugars, phosphates and bases, yet there are some crucial differences which separate the two1. This distinctions enable the 2 molecules to work-related together and also fulfil their crucial roles. Here, we look in ~ 5 an essential differences between DNA and also RNA. Prior to we delve right into the differences, us take a look at these 2 nucleic acids side-by-side.

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A Comparison the the Helix and Base structure of RNA and DNA

DNA vs. RNA – A comparison Chart




Full NameDeoxyribonucleic Acid

Ribonucleic Acid


DNA replicates and also stores genetic information. The is a blueprint because that all hereditary information included within one organism

RNA counter the hereditary information had within DNA to a style used to construct proteins, and also then moves it to ribosomal protein factories.


DNA is composed of 2 strands, arranged in a dual helix. These strands are comprised of subunits dubbed nucleotides. Each nucleotide includes a phosphate, a 5-carbon sugar molecule and also a nitrogenous base.

RNA only has actually one strand, yet like DNA, is consisted of of nucleotides. RNA strands are shorter than DNA strands. RNA sometimes forms a secondary double helix structure, yet only intermittently.


DNA is a much longer polymer 보다 RNA. A chromosome, for example, is a single, long DNA molecule, which would certainly be numerous centimetres in size when unravelled.

RNA molecules are variable in length, yet much shorter than lengthy DNA polymers. A huge RNA molecule could only be a couple of thousand basic pairs long.


The sugar in DNA is deoxyribose, which consists of one less hydroxyl team than RNA’s ribose.

RNA has ribose sugar molecules, there is no the hydroxyl changes of deoxyribose.


The bases in DNA room Adenine (‘A’), Thymine (‘T’), Guanine (‘G’) and also Cytosine (‘C’).

RNA shares adenin (‘A’), Guanine (‘G’) and Cytosine (‘C’) through DNA, but contains Uracil (‘U’) rather than Thymine.

Base Pairs

Adenine and Thymine pair (A-T)

Cytosine and also Guanine pair (C-G)

Adenine and Uracil pair (A-U)

Cytosine and Guanine pair (C-G)


DNA is uncovered in the nucleus, with a small amount of DNA additionally present in mitochondria.

RNA creates in the nucleolus, and then move to specialised regions of the cytoplasm relying on the type of RNA formed.

ReactivityDue come its deoxyribose sugar, which has one much less oxygen-containing hydroxyl group, DNA is a much more stable molecule than RNA, which is useful for a molecule which has the job of keeping hereditary information safe.RNA, comprise a ribose sugar, is an ext reactive 보다 DNA and is not stable in alkaline conditions. RNA’s larger helical grooves average it is more easily topic to strike by enzymes.
Ultraviolet (UV) SensitivityDNA is fragile to damages by ultraviolet light.RNA is much more resistant to damages from UV light 보다 DNA.

What space the crucial differences in between DNA and also RNA?


DNA encodes all genetic information, and also is the blueprint indigenous which all biological life is created. And also that’s only in the short-term. In the long-term, DNA is a warehouse device, a biological flash journey that enables the blueprint the life to be passed in between generations2. RNA functions as the reader that decodes this flash drive. This reading process is multi-step and also there are dedicated RNAs because that each of these steps. Below, us look in an ext detail in ~ the three many important species of RNA.
What space the three types of RNA?Messenger RNA (mRNA) copies portions of genetic code, a procedure called transcription, and transports these copies to ribosomes, which room the moving factories that facilitate the manufacturing of proteins from this code.Transfer RNA (tRNA) is responsible for bringing amino acids, straightforward protein structure blocks, to these protein factories, in response to the coded instructions presented by the mRNA. This protein-building procedure is called translation.Finally, ribosome RNA (rRNA) is a ingredient of the ribosome factory itself there is no which protein production would no occur3.
Both DNA and RNA are built with a sugar backbone, however whereas the sugar in DNA is called deoxyribose (left in image), the sugar in RNA is dubbed simply ribose (right in image). The ‘deoxy’ prefix denotes that, whilst RNA has actually two hydroxyl (-OH) teams attached to its carbon backbone, DNA has only one, and has a lone hydrogen atom fastened instead. RNA’s extra hydroxyl team proves helpful in the process of converting genetic code right into mRNAs that deserve to be made right into proteins, whilst the deoxyribose sugar offers DNA more stability4.

Whilst the ubiquity of Francis Crick and James Watson’s (or need to that be Rosalind Franklin’s?) DNA twin helix means that the two-stranded structure of DNA framework is typical knowledge, RNA’s solitary stranded style is not as well known. RNA can kind into double-stranded structures, such as throughout translation, once mRNA and tRNA molecules pair. DNA polymers are additionally much longer than RNA polymers; the 2.3m long human genome consists of 46 chromosomes, each of i beg your pardon is a single, lengthy DNA molecule. RNA molecules, by comparison, are lot shorter4.

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The three varieties of RNA are uncovered in different locations. MRNA is make in the nucleus, with each mRNA fragment duplicated from the relative item of DNA, prior to leaving the nucleus and also entering the cytoplasm. The fragments are climate shuttled about the cell together needed, moved along by the cell’s inner transport system, the cytoskeleton. TRNA, favor mRNA, is a free-roaming molecule the moves about the cytoplasm. If that receives the correct signal indigenous the ribosome, it will then hunt down amino acid subunits in the cytoplasm and also bring them to the ribosome to be developed into proteins5. RRNA, as previously mentioned, is discovered as component of ribosomes. Ribosom are created in one area of the nucleus referred to as the nucleolus, prior to being exported come the cytoplasm, whereby some ribosomes rise freely. Other cytoplasmic ribosomes are bound come the endoplasmic reticulum, a membranous framework that helps procedure proteins and export them from the cell6.