Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and also Ribonucleic mountain (RNA) are maybe the most important molecules in cabinet biology, responsible because that the storage and reading of hereditary information the underpins all life. They space both direct polymers, consists of sugars, phosphates and bases, but there space some vital differences which different the two1. This distinctions enable the 2 molecules to work-related together and also fulfil their necessary roles. Here, we look at 5 vital differences between DNA and RNA. Before we delve into the differences, we take a look in ~ these 2 nucleic mountain side-by-side.

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A Comparison that the Helix and Base framework of RNA and DNA

DNA vs. RNA – A compare Chart




Full NameDeoxyribonucleic Acid

Ribonucleic Acid


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

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


DNA consists of 2 strands, arranged in a dual helix. This strands are consisted of of subunits called nucleotides. Each nucleotide contains a phosphate, a 5-carbon sugar molecule and also a nitrogenous base.

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


DNA is a much longer polymer than RNA. A chromosome, because that example, is a single, lengthy DNA molecule, which would be numerous centimetres in length when unravelled.

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


The sugar in DNA is deoxyribose, which contains one much less hydroxyl group than RNA’s ribose.

RNA consists of ribose sugar molecules, there is no the hydroxyl modifications of deoxyribose.


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

RNA shares adenine (‘A’), Guanine (‘G’) and also Cytosine (‘C’) through DNA, yet contains Uracil (‘U’) fairly than Thymine.

Base Pairs

Adenine and Thymine pair (A-T)

Cytosine and Guanine pair (C-G)

Adenine and Uracil pair (A-U)

Cytosine and also Guanine pair (C-G)


DNA is uncovered in the nucleus, through a small amount that DNA additionally present in mitochondria.

RNA forms in the nucleolus, and also then moves to specialised regions of the cytoplasm depending on the kind of RNA formed.

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

What room the key differences between DNA and RNA?


DNA encodes all hereditary information, and is the blueprint native which all biological life is created. And that’s only in the short-term. In the long-term, DNA is a warehouse device, a organic flash journey that permits the blueprint of life to it is in passed in between generations2. RNA functions as the leader that decodes this speed drive. This reading procedure is multi-step and also there are devoted RNAs for each of this steps. Below, us look in more detail in ~ the three most important species of RNA.
What room the three types of RNA?Messenger RNA (mRNA) copies portions of genetic code, a procedure called transcription, and also transports these copies to ribosomes, which space the moving factories the facilitate the production of proteins from this code.Transfer RNA (tRNA) is responsible because that bringing amino acids, basic protein structure blocks, to this protein factories, in response to the coded instructions introduced by the mRNA. This protein-building process is referred to as translation.Finally, ribosom RNA (rRNA) is a ingredient of the ribosome manufacturing facility itself without which protein production would not occur3.
Both DNA and also RNA are constructed with a sugar backbone, but whereas the street in DNA is called deoxyribose (left in image), the street in RNA is called simply ribose (right in image). The ‘deoxy’ prefix denotes that, whilst RNA has two hydroxyl (-OH) groups attached to its carbon backbone, DNA has only one, and has a lone hydrogen atom fastened instead. RNA’s extra hydroxyl team proves advantageous in the procedure of converting hereditary code into mRNAs that deserve to be made into proteins, whilst the deoxyribose sugar gives DNA much more stability4.

Whilst the ubiquity that Francis Crick and also James Watson’s (or need to that it is in Rosalind Franklin’s?) DNA double helix way that the two-stranded structure of DNA framework is typical knowledge, RNA’s single stranded layout is not as well known. RNA can form into double-stranded structures, such as throughout translation, once mRNA and also tRNA molecules pair. DNA polymers are also much longer than RNA polymers; the 2.3m long human genome is composed of 46 chromosomes, every of i beg your pardon is a single, lengthy DNA molecule. RNA molecules, through comparison, are much shorter4.

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The three varieties of RNA are discovered in various locations. MRNA is do in the nucleus, through each mRNA fragment replicated from the relative piece of DNA, before leaving the nucleus and entering the cytoplasm. The pieces are climate shuttled approximately the cell together needed, relocated along by the cell’s internal transport system, the cytoskeleton. TRNA, favor mRNA, is a free-roaming molecule the moves roughly the cytoplasm. If it receives the exactly signal indigenous the ribosome, it will certainly then hunt under amino mountain subunits in the cytoplasm and bring them come the ribosome to be developed into proteins5. RRNA, as formerly mentioned, is found as part of ribosomes. Ribosomes are formed in one area the the nucleus dubbed the nucleolus, prior to being exported come the cytoplasm, where some ribosomes rise freely. Various other cytoplasmic ribosomes space bound come the absorbent reticulum, a membranous framework that helps procedure proteins and also export them native the cell6.