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Difference Between DNA and RNA


DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is one of the main components of the cellular structure. Same goes for RNA or ribonucleic acid. These components can be found on all cell structures whether it would be in animals, plants, Protistas, fungi, bacteria, and archaea. These cellular components are very essential as they support several functions for the cellular structure. But these two cellular components have varied functions. To better understand the differences between the structures of DNA and RNA, there should be an in-depth look into what their basic components are and how these cellular components contribute to the entire functionality of the cellular structure.

DNA is a type of nucleic acid that consists of long polymers of simple units. These long polymers are basically called nucleotides which consist of 2-deoxyribose sugar. It also has backbones consisting of sugars and phosphate groups that are then conjoined by ester bonds. Therefore, the DNA can be considered as a double-stranded molecule. Moreover, the DNA has four different bases, namely; adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine with adenine and guanine as purines and cytosine and thymine as pyrimidines. The two strands form a double helix which is connected by the aforementioned nucleotides, and in those nucleotide strands are the four bases mentioned earlier. This form of helix is then called the B-form. The B-form of the DNA’s helix is characterized by the small grooves which makes DNA less susceptible to damage from external factors. The strands of nucleotides that form the double helix in DNA are anti-parallel which means that the strands go in opposite directions. DNA is responsible mainly for carrying the genetic information in cells. It is very essential in reproduction as it carries genetic information to be duplicated to create another cell or commonly known as DNA replication. DNA works like a blueprint as it possesses the important instructions for the function and development of cells.

On the other hand, RNA has several differences in the structure apart from DNA. The RNA’s nucleotides are shorter compared to those of DNA. The RNA also has ribose in its nucleotides different from the 2-deoxyribose in the nucleotides of DNA. Unlike DNA, RNA is a single-stranded molecule. Added to that is the form of the helix in the RNA. The RNA adapts the A-form in its helix. This form is characterized by large grooves in it causing it to be more unstable as it is more exposed to damaging factors outside the cell. Although RNA has the same purines as those of DNA, its pyrimidines are different. Instead of having thymine as one of its pyrimidines, it rather has uracil in replacement for thymine in DNAs. While the DNA has an anti-parallel arrangement in its nucleotides, the RNA does not have a definite arrangement as it only has a single strand. As for its functions, the RNA is responsible for the protein synthesis, and at times the RNA can transmit the genetic information throughout the entire cell.


1.DNA has a double-stranded molecule while the RNA has a single-stranded molecule.

2.DNA has 2-deoxyribose while RNA has ribose.

3.DNA has thymine while RNA has uracil.

4.DNA adapts the B-form in its helix while RNA adapts the A-form.

5.DNA stores genetic functions while RNA is responsible for protein synthesis.

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