In this article, we will discuss DNA and RNA in a simple and easy way and understand the difference between them with the help of its various important aspects. Must read this article till the end and to understand DNA from zero level, must also read DNA and other related articles.

DNA means deoxyribonucleic acid, and RNA means ribonucleic acid. Although both DNA and RNA contain genetic information, there is a considerable difference between them. Let us understand all this one by one.

image credit freepik
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DNA and RNA background

DNA i.e. Deoxyribonucleic acid (deoxyribonucleic acid) is actually a molecule, which is like a twisted long ladder or double helix. 

Ladder poles are made up of four different types of small molecules. These are called  nucleotides. These four nucleotides are called adenine (A), guanine (G), thymine (T) and cytosine (C) and are the letters of our genetic alphabet. 

The special arrangement of this letter gives directions to all living things. Such as – how to grow, walk, eat, digest, see the environment or reproduce.  

understand from hereโ€“ Basics of DNA

DNA is famous. Because there is a lot of talk on this but it does not mean that RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) is of no importance.

Actually, RNA is similar to DNA in many ways. It is a long chain of sugars linked together by phosphate groups. Each sugar or sugar has a base attached to it. It can combine with matching partners to form a double helix.

It resembles DNA but the helix is โ€‹โ€‹slightly opposite and often RNA is coaxed into complex structures, stabilized by short helixes with long single-stranded ends.

Overall, unlike DNA, RNA is found in nature as a single strand that folds on itself rather than as a paired double strand.

Cellular organisms use messenger RNA (mRNA) to transmit genetic information, for this it is made up of nitrogenous bases, i.e. guanine (G), uracil (U), adenine (A) and cytosine (C) uses Many viruses encode their genetic information using the RNA genome.

RNA molecules play an active role within cells by catalyzing biological reactions, controlling gene expression, or sensing and transmitting responses to cellular signals. One of these active processes is protein synthesis.

What is protein synthesis?

Actually, protein synthesis is a universal function, in which RNA molecules direct the synthesis of proteins on the ribosome. This process uses transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules to deliver amino acids to the ribosome, where the ribosomal RNA (rRNA) then links the amino acids together to form a coded protein.

Note โ€“ What is a ribosome? For this see the FAQs at the bottom of the article.]

Difference Between DNA and RNA

1. DNA contains the sugar deoxyribose , while RNA contains the sugar ribose . The only difference between ribose and deoxyribose is that ribose has one more oxygen molecule than deoxyribose.

Explanation DNA is made up of nucleotides and each nucleotide has a base, which can be any of adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine. And each base is attached to a sugar molecule and a phosphate molecule. [How it is connected you can see in the picture.]

Nucleotides are arranged according to the given diagram. Here Sugar means Ribose or Deoxyribose. If the sugar is Ribose it means it is RNA and if the sugar is Deoxyribose it means it is DNA.

Actually ‘deoxy’ means ‘lacking an oxygen’ i.e. the sugar in DNA has one less oxygen than RNA. You can see in the picture below how an oxygen is reduced in the chemical structure of sugar or sugar.

2. DNA is a double-stranded molecule, whereas RNA is a single-stranded molecule.

Explanation In fact, when many nucleotides are joined one after the other, the sugar and phosphate present in it form a strand. It is also called Sugar Phosphate backbone. In the case of DNA it is formed on either side of the base pair whereas in the case of RNA usually only one side is formed. You can see it in the below picture.

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image source – wikipedia

3. 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 acts as a messenger between DNA and ribosomes to make proteins.

4. Base pairing of DNA and RNA is slightly different as DNA uses adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C) and guanine (G) bases; where adenine (A) associates with thymine (T) and cytosine (C) with guanine (G).

In RNA, it uses adenine, uracil, cytosine and guanine as bases. where adenine (A) associates with uracil (U) and cytosine (C) with guanine (G). Uracil differs from thymine in that it lacks a methyl group on its ring. You can see it in the above picture.

Note –If you have not fully understood the above-mentioned things, then you must first read and understand this article; The Evolutionary Journey of DNA and RNA

Comparison of DNA and RNA

While both DNA and RNA are used to store genetic information, there are clear differences between them. This table summarizes the main points:

Full NameDeoxyriboNucleic AcidRiboNucleic Acid
Worklong-term storage of genetic information; Transmission of genetic information to create other cells and new organisms.Used to transfer the genetic code from the nucleus to the ribosome 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.
structureDNA is a double-stranded molecule consisting of a long chain of nucleotides.RNA is usually a single-strand helix consisting of short chains of nucleotides.
Base PairsAT (adenine-thymine)
GC (guanine-cytosine)
AU (adenine-uracil)
GC (guanine-cytosine)
The DNA molecule can self-replicate.Whereas RNA molecules are synthesized by a process called transcription. RNA is synthesized from DNA as needed.

Also read โ€“ What is Anti Oxidant?

Similarities Between DNA and RNA Molecules

Both DNA and RNA are nucleic acids, and there are many similarities between the two. which you can see below;

Nucleotides and Ribonucleotides โ€“ The nucleotides of DNA and the ribonucleotides that make up RNA are very similar in structure. Both contain a phosphate group, a 5-carbon sugar, and a nitrogenous base.

Number of Nitrogenous Bases โ€“ Both DNA and RNA molecules have four nitrogenous bases. Three of these (adenine, cytosine and guanine) are found in both types of nucleic acids. Just one base apart, DNA contains thymine while RNA has uracil in its place.

Sugar-Phosphate Backbone โ€“ Strand of both DNA and RNA molecules is made up of molecules of a sugar and -phosphate group, this is called sugar-phosphate backbone. The bases of the nucleotide (ie adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine or uracil) stick to it.

Also read โ€“ DNA Test [Genetic Testing] What, How & Benefits

Some Facts about DNA and RNA

Which came first, DNA or RNA?

There is some evidence that DNA may have occurred first, but most scientists believe that RNA evolved before DNA. RNA has a simple structure and it is needed for DNA to function. RNA itself can act as a catalyst for certain chemical reactions.

The real question is, why did DNA evolve if RNA was present? 

The most likely answer is that having a double-stranded molecule helps protect the genetic code from damage. If one strand is broken, the other strand can serve as a template for repair. The proteins surrounding the DNA also provide additional protection against enzymatic attack.

Is DNA just double-stranded? 

The most common form of DNA is the double helix. However, there is rare evidence of branched DNA and molecules made of triple strands.

Although RNA is usually single-stranded, it can sometimes be double-stranded. And it does the same thing as DNA, except that thymine is replaced by uracil. This type of RNA is found in some viruses. When these viruses infect eukaryotic cells, dsRNA can interfere with normal RNA function and stimulate the interferon response .

On the other hand, circular single-strand RNA (circRNA) has been found in both animals and plants. Currently, the function of this type of RNA is unknown.

[Hope you have understood this article, DNA and other topics related to it are also very interesting, so you must read that too, and share it.]
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What are ribosomes?

A ribosome is a cellular particle made up of RNA and protein, or in other words, ribosomes, a part of the protein-making factory in the cell. which serves as the site for protein synthesis in the cell. The ribosome reads the sequence of messenger RNA (mRNA) and translates the sequence of RNA bases into a sequence of amino acids using the genetic code.

What is interferon ?

A natural substance that helps the body’s immune system fight infections and other diseases such as cancer. Interferons are made in the body by white blood cells and other cells, but they can also be made in the laboratory to be used as treatments for various diseases.

What are Nucleotides ?

DNA i.e. Deoxyribonucleic acid (deoxyribonucleic acid) is actually a molecule, which is like a twisted long ladder or double helix. 
Ladder poles are made up of four different types of small molecules. These are called  nucleotides. These four nucleotides are called adenine (A), guanine (G), thymine (T) and cytosine (C) and are the letters of our genetic alphabet. 

What is Base?

In chemistry, a base is a chemical species that donates electrons, accepts protons, or gives off hydroxide (OH-) ions in aqueous solution.
Alkalis exhibit some distinctive properties that can be used to help identify them. As they are slippery to the touch (for example, soap), may taste bitter, may react with acids to form salts, and may catalyze certain reactions. An alkaline solution has a pH greater than 7. While less than 7 of acid.

What is a nucleic acid?

Nucleic acids are naturally occurring chemical compounds that serve as the primary information-carrying molecules in cells. They play a particularly important role in directing protein synthesis. The two main classes of nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).

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