DNA vs. RNA: What's the Difference?

Key Difference

DNA and RNA are two types of nucleic acids found in all living cells. They both play a key role in the functioning and survival of the cell. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, whereas RNA stands for ribonucleic acid. DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is a self-replicating material which is present in the chromosomes of all organisms, it carries genetic information while RNA or ribonucleic acid is not self-replicating, DNA synthesizes it, and it carries messages from DNA for the synthesis of protein. In some micro-organisms, RNA also carries genetic information. Another difference is that DNA is present in the nucleus while RNA is synthesized in nucleus and travel in cytoplasm pf cell.

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Comparison Chart

DNA RNA
Abbreviation DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. RNA stands for ribonucleic acid.
Types DNA has no further types. RNA has three types; mRNA or messenger RNA, tRNA or transfer RNA, rRNA or ribosomal RNA.
Function DNA is a self-replicating material which is present in the chromosomes of all organisms; it carries genetic information. RNA is not self-replicating material and is synthesized by DNA in the nucleus. It normally carries information in the form of messages given by DNA.
Nucleobases DNA has nucleobases: adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. RNA has nucleobases: adenine, uracil (not thymine), cytosine and guanine.
Stranded Structure DNA has a double stranded structure, has two nucleotide strands and has a helix geometry of B-form. RNA has a single stranded structure, and have one nucleotide strand and has a geometry of A-form.
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What is DNA?

DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. It is a major type of nucleic acid. It is a self-replicating material which is present in the chromosomes of all organisms; it carries genetic information. DNA has a double-stranded structure, and have two nucleotide strands which have a phosphate group, five carbon sugar, and nucleobases: adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. Adenine links with thymine (A-T) and cytosine links to guanine (C-G). DNA contains the genes and has planned for the synthesis of protein. DNA has no further type.a thing to be noted that DNA synthesizes mRNA which carries its messages. Moreover, DNA is very stable, and it has a helix geometry of B-form. DNA is tightly packed and protected inside the chromosome.

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What is RNA?

RNA stands for ribonucleic acid. It is also a major type of nucleic acid, It is not self-replicating material and is synthesized by DNA in the nucleus. It normally carries information in the form of messages given by DNA, but some micro-organisms RNA contain genetic material. RNA has a single stranded structure, and have one nucleotide strand which has a phosphate group, five carbon sugar, and nucleobases: adenine, uracil (not thymine), cytosine and guanine. Adenine links with uracil (A-U) and cytosine links to guanine (C-G).

RNA has further three types:

  1. mRNA or messenger RNA.
  2. tRNA or transfer RNA.
  3. rRNA or ribosomal RNA.

These types are present at different places in the cell, mRNA is synthesized in the nucleus by DNA, it crosses nuclear membrane and travel. tRNA is present in cytoplasm whereas, rRNA is present on the surface of ribosomes. rRNA act like a factory for the assembling of protein. rRNA read the information given by DNA and make proteins according to it.The process of synthesis of mRNA from DNA is called transcription while synthesis of proteins from rRNA is known as translation. RNA has a geometry of A-form. RNA is constantly synthesized, broken down and also reused. It also shows some resistance to damage by UV rays.

DNA vs. RNA

  • DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, whereas RNA stands for ribonucleic acid.
  • DNA has no further types, but RNA has three types.
  • DNA is present in the nucleus while RNA has different situation according to its type.
  • DNA is a self-replicating material which is present in the chromosomes of all organisms, it carries genetic information, on the other hand, RNA is not self-replicating material and is synthesized by DNA in the nucleus. It normally carries information in the form of messages given by DNA.
  • DNA has nucleobases: adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine, while RNA has nucleobases: adenine, uracil (not thymine), cytosine and guanine.
  • DNA has a double stranded structure, has two nucleotide strands and has a helix geometry of B-form, whereas RNA has a single stranded structure, and have one nucleotide strand and has a geometry of A-form.

Explanatory Video

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