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    this is a 5-carbon sugar which is a structural component of rna, it differs from deoxyribose of dna by only one group.

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    DNA vs. RNA – 5 Key Differences and Comparison

    DNA and RNA are the two most important molecules in cell biology, but what are the key differences between them?

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    DNA vs. RNA – 5 Key Differences and Comparison

    Published: December 18, 2020

    Last Updated: March 31, 2022

    Ruairi J Mackenzie

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    Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are perhaps the most important molecules in cell biology, responsible for the storage and reading of genetic information that underpins all life. They are both linear polymers, consisting of sugars, phosphates and bases, but there are some key differences which separate the two1. These distinctions enable the two molecules to work together and fulfil their essential roles. Here, we look at 5 key differences between DNA and RNA. Before we delve into the differences, we take a look at these two nucleic acids side-by-side.

    DNA vs. RNA – A comparison chart

    Comparison

    DNA RNA

    Full Name

    Deoxyribonucleic Acid

    Ribonucleic Acid

    Function

    DNA replicates and stores genetic information. It is a blueprint for all genetic information contained within an organism.

    RNA converts the genetic information contained within DNA to a format used to build proteins, and then moves it to ribosomal protein factories. 

    Structure

    DNA consists of two strands, arranged in a double helix. These strands are made up of subunits called nucleotides. Each nucleotide contains a phosphate, a 5-carbon sugar molecule and a nitrogenous base.

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

    Length

    DNA is a much longer polymer than RNA. A chromosome, for example, is a single, long DNA molecule, which would be several centimetres in length when unravelled.

    RNA molecules are variable in length, but much shorter than long DNA polymers. A large RNA molecule might only be a few thousand base pairs long. 

    Sugar

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

    RNA contains ribose sugar molecules, without the hydroxyl modifications of deoxyribose.

    Bases

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

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

    Base Pairs

    Adenine and Thymine pair (A-T)

    Cytosine and Guanine pair (C-G)  

    Adenine and Uracil pair (A-U)

    Cytosine and Guanine pair (C-G)        

    Location

    DNA is found in the nucleus, with a small amount of DNA also present in mitochondria.

    Function DNA replicates and stores genetic information. It is a blueprint for all genetic information contained within an organism. RNA converts the genetic information contained within DNA to a format used to build proteins, and then moves it to ribosomal protein factories.  Structure DNA consists of two strands, arranged in a double helix. These strands are made up of subunits called nucleotides. Each nucleotide contains a phosphate, a 5-carbon sugar molecule and a nitrogenous base. RNA only has one strand, but like DNA, is made up of nucleotides. RNA strands are shorter than DNA strands. RNA sometimes forms a secondary double helix structure, but only intermittently.  Length DNA is a much longer polymer than RNA. A chromosome, for example, is a single, long DNA molecule, which would be several centimetres in length when unravelled. RNA molecules are variable in length, but much shorter than long DNA polymers. A large RNA molecule might only be a few thousand base pairs long.  Sugar The sugar in DNA is deoxyribose, which contains one less hydroxyl group than RNA’s ribose. RNA contains ribose sugar molecules, without the hydroxyl modifications of deoxyribose. Bases The bases in DNA are Adenine (‘A’), Thymine (‘T’), Guanine (‘G’) and Cytosine (‘C’). RNA shares Adenine (‘A’), Guanine (‘G’) and Cytosine (‘C’) with DNA, but contains Uracil (‘U’) rather than Thymine. Base Pairs Adenine and Thymine pair (A-T) Cytosine and Guanine pair (C-G)   Adenine and Uracil pair (A-U) Cytosine and Guanine pair (C-G)         Location DNA is found in the nucleus, with a small amount of DNA also present in mitochondria. RNA forms in the nucleolus, and then moves to specialised regions of the cytoplasm depending on the type of RNA formed.

    Reactivity Due to its deoxyribose sugar, which contains one less oxygen-containing hydroxyl group, DNA is a more stable molecule than RNA, which is useful for a molecule which has the task of keeping genetic information safe. RNA, containing a ribose sugar, is more reactive than DNA and is not stable in alkaline conditions. RNA’s larger helical grooves mean it is more easily subject to attack by enzymes.Ultraviolet (UV) Sensitivity DNA is vulnerable to damage by ultraviolet light.  RNA is more resistant to damage from UV light than DNA.

    What are the key differences between DNA and RNA?

    We can identify five key categories where DNA and RNA differ:

    Function Sugar Bases Structure Location

    Function

    DNA encodes all genetic information, and is the blueprint from which all biological life is created. And that’s only in the short-term. In the long-term, DNA is a storage device, a biological flash drive that allows the blueprint of life to be passed between generations2. RNA functions as the reader that decodes this flash drive. This reading process is multi-step and there are specialized RNAs for each of these steps. Below, we look in more detail at the three most important types of RNA.

    What are the three types of RNA?

    Messenger RNA (mRNA) copies portions of genetic code, a process called transcription, and transports these copies to ribosomes, which are the cellular factories that facilitate the production of proteins from this code.

    Transfer RNA (tRNA) is responsible for bringing amino acids, basic protein building blocks, to these protein factories, in response to the coded instructions introduced by the mRNA. This protein-building process is called translation.

    Finally, Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) is a component of the ribosome factory itself without which protein production would not occur1.

    Sugar

    Both DNA and RNA are built with a sugar backbone, but whereas the sugar in DNA is called deoxyribose (left in image), the sugar 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 attached instead. RNA’s extra hydroxyl group proves useful in the process of converting genetic code into mRNAs that can be made into proteins, whilst the deoxyribose sugar gives DNA more stability3.

    Source : www.technologynetworks.com

    Nucleic acids (article)

    DNA and RNA structure and function. Nucleotides and polynucleotides. mRNA, rRNA, tRNA, miRNA, and siRNA.

    DNA and RNA structure

    Nucleic acids

    DNA and RNA structure and function. Nucleotides and polynucleotides. mRNA, rRNA, tRNA, miRNA, and siRNA.

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    Introduction

    Nucleic acids, and DNA in particular, are key macromolecules for the continuity of life. DNA bears the hereditary information that’s passed on from parents to children, providing instructions for how (and when) to make the many proteins needed to build and maintain functioning cells, tissues, and organisms.

    How DNA carries this information, and how it is put into action by cells and organisms, is complex, fascinating, and fairly mind-blowing, and we’ll explore it in more detail in the section on molecular biology. Here, we’ll just take a quick look at nucleic acids from the macromolecule perspective.

    Roles of DNA and RNA in cells

    Nucleic acids, macromolecules made out of units called nucleotides, come in two naturally occurring varieties: deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). DNA is the genetic material found in living organisms, all the way from single-celled bacteria to multicellular mammals like you and me. Some viruses use RNA, not DNA, as their genetic material, but aren’t technically considered to be alive (since they cannot reproduce without help from a host).

    DNA in cells

    In eukaryotes, such as plants and animals, DNA is found in the nucleus, a specialized, membrane-bound vault in the cell, as well as in certain other types of organelles (such as mitochondria and the chloroplasts of plants). In prokaryotes, such as bacteria, the DNA is not enclosed in a membranous envelope, although it's located in a specialized cell region called the nucleoid.

    In eukaryotes, DNA is typically broken up into a number of very long, linear pieces called chromosomes, while in prokaryotes such as bacteria, chromosomes are much smaller and often circular (ring-shaped). A chromosome may contain tens of thousands of genes, each providing instructions on how to make a particular product needed by the cell.

    From DNA to RNA to proteins

    Many genes encode protein products, meaning that they specify the sequence of amino acids used to build a particular protein. Before this information can be used for protein synthesis, however, an RNA copy (transcript) of the gene must first be made. This type of RNA is called a messenger RNA (mRNA), as it serves as a messenger between DNA and the ribosomes, molecular machines that read mRNA sequences and use them to build proteins. This progression from DNA to RNA to protein is called the “central dogma” of molecular biology.

    Importantly, not all genes encode protein products. For instance, some genes specify ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), which serve as structural components of ribosomes, or transfer RNAs (tRNAs), cloverleaf-shaped RNA molecules that bring amino acids to the ribosome for protein synthesis. Still other RNA molecules, such as tiny microRNAs (miRNAs), act as regulators of other genes, and new types of non-protein-coding RNAs are being discovered all the time.

    Nucleotides

    DNA and RNA are polymers (in the case of DNA, often very long polymers), and are made up of monomers known as nucleotides. When these monomers combine, the resulting chain is called a polynucleotide (poly- = "many").

    Each nucleotide is made up of three parts: a nitrogen-containing ring structure called a nitrogenous base, a five-carbon sugar, and at least one phosphate group. The sugar molecule has a central position in the nucleotide, with the base attached to one of its carbons and the phosphate group (or groups) attached to another. Let’s look at each part of a nucleotide in turn.

    Image of the components of DNA and RNA, including the sugar (deoxyribose or ribose), phosphate group, and nitrogenous base. Bases include the pyrimidine bases (cytosine, thymine in DNA, and uracil in RNA, one ring) and the purine bases (adenine and guanine, two rings). The phosphate group is attached to the 5' carbon. The 2' carbon bears a hydroxyl group in ribose, but no hydroxyl (just hydrogen) in deoxyribose.

    _Image modified from "Nucleic acids: Figure 1," by OpenStax College, Biology (CC BY 3.0)._

    Nitrogenous bases

    The nitrogenous bases of nucleotides are organic (carbon-based) molecules made up of nitrogen-containing ring structures. [Why is it called a base?]

    Each nucleotide in DNA contains one of four possible nitrogenous bases: adenine (A), guanine (G) cytosine (C), and thymine (T). Adenine and guanine are purines, meaning that their structures contain two fused carbon-nitrogen rings. Cytosine and thymine, in contrast, are pyrimidines and have a single carbon-nitrogen ring. RNA nucleotides may also bear adenine, guanine and cytosine bases, but instead of thymine they have another pyrimidine base called uracil (U). As shown in the figure above, each base has a unique structure, with its own set of functional groups attached to the ring structure.

    Source : www.khanacademy.org

    DNA Flashcards

    DNA vocabulary Learn with flashcards, games, and more — for free.

    DNA

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    RNA

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    A single stranded nucleic acid that plays a role in protein synthesis.

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    DNA

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    This holds an organisms hereditary information.

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    1/12 Created by deleriley DNA vocabulary

    Terms in this set (12)

    RNA

    A single stranded nucleic acid that plays a role in protein synthesis.

    DNA

    This holds an organisms hereditary information.

    Adenine

    This bonds to thymine (T) in DNA.

    Double Helix

    This is the structure of DNA as first published by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953.

    Guanine

    This bonds to cytosine (C) in DNA.

    Thymine

    This bonds to adenine (A) in DNA.

    Cytosine

    This bonds to guanine (G) in DNA.

    Ribose

    This is a 5-carbon sugar which is a structural component of RNA, it differs from deoxyribose of DNA by only one group.

    Uracil

    This is the nitrogenous base only found in RNA.

    deoxyribose

    This is the sugar found in the side chains of DNA.

    Replication

    This is the copying process by which a cell duplicates its DNA.

    Transcription

    This is the process of copying DNA to RNA.

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