What Is The Difference Between Dna And Rna?
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DNA, which stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, is the long-chain molecule that contains the genetic material (encoded hereditary characteristics)
in living organisms. RNA, which stands for ribonucleic acid, is also a long-chain molecule. The function of RNA is to translate the genetic material stored in DNA, into protein structures. RNA essentially carries out the instructions of DNA.
DNA is a type of complex acid, called a nucleic acid, made of a repeating pattern of simple building blocks called nucleotides. Each nucleotide consists of a phosphate (PO4), a sugar (deoxyribose), and a base which is either adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G), or cytosine (C). In a DNA molecule, nucleotides exist as two spiral strands linked at their bases (either between A and T or between G and C). This structure, which resembles a twisted ladder, is known as a double helix.
The double-helix structure of DNA was discovered by James Watson (1928-), Francis Crick (1916-), and Maurice Wilkins (1916-). Their discovery earned them the 1962 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.
RNA is also a nucleic acid. It differs from DNA in that it consists of a single chain of nucleotides. Another difference is that the sugar in RNA is ribose instead of deoxyribose found in DNA. The bases in RNA are the same as in DNA except that the thymine (T), which appears in DNA, is replaced by another base called uracil (U), which links only to adenine (A).
Sources: Magill, Frank N. Nobel Prize Winners: Physiology or Medicine, vol. 2, p. 853; Trefil, James. 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Science, pp. 260-61.
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