Similarities Between DNA And RNA

What are the similarities and differences between DNA and RNA?

DNA and RNA are similar in that both are ribonucleic acids that are found in cells and formed from nitrogenous bases. DNA and RNA are different in function: DNA stores the genetic material of an organism, while RNA conveys messages. Some of their nitrogenous bases are also different, as RNA contains uracil in place of DNA's thymine.

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I like to use the analogy of DNA being more like the operating system, while the RNA being more like a specific program-programming for conducting specific tasks such as the synthesis of proteins.  I found a good and simple chart that is included in the reference links that will help as an overview for the comparison of the two.

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- DNA is double-stranded, RNA is single-stranded.

- DNA contains a pentose sugar Deoxyribose, RNA contains the pentose sugar Ribose.  A pentose is a 5-carbon sugar molecule.

- DNA is limited to the nucleus, RNA is made in the nucleus, but can travel outside of it.

- DNA has a nitrogenous base called Thymine, but RNA doesn't.  Instead, RNA has Uracil.  In DNA thymine pairs with adenine, but in RNA uracil pairs with adenine.

- There is only one type of DNA but 3 kinds of RNA (messenger, transfer and ribosomal RNA)


- DNA and RNA are made up of monomers called nucleotides.

- DNA and RNA both contain pentose sugars.

- DNA and RNA both have 3 nitrogenous bases: Adenine, Cytosine and Guanine.

- DNA and RNA both have a phosphate groups in their nucleotides.  Sometimes called phosphoric acid.

- They both have the base pair of Guanine and Cytosine.

- They are both necessary for the cell to produce proteins.

- DNA makes mRNA which then is translated into protein.

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