I Need Insights Into RNA Vs DNA – Comparison, Functions, Structure, Reactivity and Key Differences
RNA is means ribonucleic acid while DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid. No doubt, RNA and DNA carries genetic information and are linear polymers, consisting of sugars, phosphates and bases.
They are perhaps the most important molecules in cell biology, responsible for the storage and reading of genetic information that underpins all life. However, it is important to also mention that there exists key differences that separates these two molecules.
These distinctions enable the two molecules to work together and fulfill 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.
This is a comparison of the differences between DNA Vs RNA, including a quick summary and a detailed table of the differences.
RNA vs DNA Comparison
While both DNA and RNA are used to store genetic information, there are clear differences between them. This table summarizes the key points:
|Name||DeoxyriboNucleic Acid||RiboNucleic Acid|
|Function||Long-term storage of genetic information; transmission of genetic information to make other cells and new organisms.||Used to transfer the genetic code from the nucleus to the ribosomes to make proteins. RNA is used to transmit genetic information in some organisms and may have been the molecule used to store genetic blueprints in primitive organisms.|
|Structural Features||B-form double helix. DNA is a double-stranded molecule consisting of a long chain of nucleotides.||A-form helix. RNA usually is a single-strand helix consisting of shorter chains of nucleotides.|
|Composition of Bases and Sugars||deoxyribose sugar |
adenine, guanine, cytosine, thymine bases
|ribose sugar |
adenine, guanine, cytosine, uracil bases
|Propagation||DNA is self-replicating.||RNA is synthesized from DNA on an as-needed basis.|
|Base Pairing||AT (adenine-thymine) |
|AU (adenine-uracil) |
|Reactivity||The C-H bonds in DNA make it fairly stable, plus the body destroys enzymes that would attack DNA. The small grooves in the helix also serve as protection, providing minimal space for enzymes to attach.||The O-H bond in the ribose of RNA makes the molecule more reactive, compared with DNA. RNA is not stable under alkaline conditions, plus the large grooves in the molecule make it susceptible to enzyme attack. RNA is constantly produced, used, degraded, and recycled.|
|Ultraviolet Damage||DNA is susceptible to UV damage.||Compared with DNA, RNA is relatively resistant to UV damage.|
What are the key differences between DNA and 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 occur.
Eukaryotic cells, Animal and Plant cells, have majority of their DNA located in the nucleus
Summary of Differences Between DNA and RNA
- DNA contains the sugar deoxyribose, while RNA contains the sugar ribose. The only difference between ribose and deoxyribose is that ribose has one more -OH group than deoxyribose, which has -H attached to the second (2′) carbon in the ring.
- DNA is a double-stranded molecule while RNA is a single-stranded molecule.
- DNA is stable under alkaline conditions while RNA is not stable.
- DNA and RNA perform different functions in humans. DNA is responsible for storing and transferring genetic information while RNA directly codes for amino acids and as acts as a messenger between DNA and ribosomes to make proteins.
- DNA and RNA base pairing is slightly different since DNA uses the bases adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine; RNA uses adenine, uracil, cytosine, and guanine. Uracil differs from thymine in that it lacks a methyl group on its ring.