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

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

DNA vs. RNA – A compare Chart




Full NameDeoxyribonucleic Acid

Ribonucleic Acid


DNA replicates and also stores genetic information. That is a blueprint because that all genetic information contained within an organism

RNA switch the genetic information contained within DNA come a style used to construct proteins, and then move it to ribosomal protein factories.


DNA is composed of two strands, arranged in a twin helix. These strands are made up of subunits referred to as nucleotides. Every nucleotide contains a phosphate, a 5-carbon street molecule and also a nitrogenous base.

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


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

RNA molecules room variable in length, but much much shorter than lengthy DNA polymers. A big RNA molecule can only it is in a few thousand base pairs long.


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

RNA includes ribose sugar molecules, without the hydroxyl adjustments of deoxyribose.


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

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

Base Pairs

Adenine and Thymine pair (A-T)

Cytosine and also Guanine pair (C-G)

Adenine and also Uracil pair (A-U)

Cytosine and Guanine pair (C-G)


DNA is found in the nucleus, v a little amount the DNA additionally present in mitochondria.

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

ReactivityDue to its deoxyribose sugar, which consists of one less oxygen-containing hydroxyl group, DNA is a much more stable molecule than RNA, i beg your pardon is beneficial for a molecule which has the job of keeping genetic information safe.RNA, comprise a ribose sugar, is more reactive than DNA and also is not secure in alkaline conditions. RNA’s larger helical grooves average it is an ext easily topic to attack by enzymes.
Ultraviolet (UV) SensitivityDNA is delicate to damages by ultraviolet light.RNA is more resistant to damage from UV light than DNA.

What are the an essential differences in between DNA and also RNA?


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

Whilst the ubiquity that Francis Crick and also James Watson’s (or have to that it is in Rosalind Franklin’s?) DNA double helix means that the two-stranded framework of DNA structure is common knowledge, RNA’s solitary stranded format is not too known. RNA can type into double-stranded structures, together as throughout translation, once mRNA and also tRNA molecules pair. DNA polymers are likewise much much longer than RNA polymers; the 2.3m long person genome is composed of 46 chromosomes, each of i m sorry is a single, long DNA molecule. RNA molecules, by comparison, are lot shorter4.

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The three varieties of RNA are found in different locations. MRNA is make in the nucleus, v each mRNA fragment replicated from the relative piece of DNA, prior to leaving the nucleus and entering the cytoplasm. The pieces are then shuttled approximately the cell as needed, moved along by the cell’s internal transport system, the cytoskeleton. TRNA, choose mRNA, is a free-roaming molecule that moves around the cytoplasm. If it receives the correct signal indigenous the ribosome, it will then hunt down amino acid subunits in the cytoplasm and bring them to the ribosome come be constructed into proteins5. RRNA, as previously mentioned, is uncovered as part of ribosomes. Ribosome are developed in an area that the nucleus called the nucleolus, prior to being exported to the cytoplasm, where some ribosomes rise freely. Various other cytoplasmic ribosomes space bound come the endoplasmic reticulum, a membranous framework that helps process proteins and also export them from the cell6.