What are the differences between DNA and RNA?

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DNA and RNA are both nucleic acids, meaning that they are both macromolecules (large molecules) that are responsible for storing and transmitting the genetic material of living organisms.  There are several major differences between the two, however.

First, the type of sugar found in each.  DNA has deoxyribose, while RNA...

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DNA and RNA are both nucleic acids, meaning that they are both macromolecules (large molecules) that are responsible for storing and transmitting the genetic material of living organisms.  There are several major differences between the two, however.

First, the type of sugar found in each.  DNA has deoxyribose, while RNA contains ribose.  This difference actually gave rise to the different names.  DNA stands for DeoxyriboNucleic Acid, and RNA stands for RiboNucleic Acid.

Secondly, DNA consists of two helical (twisted) strands that give it the appearance of a twisted ladder.  RNA is made of only one helical strand (picture a curly fry).

Additionally, there is only one type of DNA, but there are several types of RNA and each has a different job.  Messenger RNA (mRNA) copies DNA and carries the message to a ribosome.  Transfer RNA (tRNA) carries amino acids to the ribosome.  Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) makes up the ribosome itself.

Finally, DNA is made of the nucleotides adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine.  RNA contains the first three, but has Uracil in place of Thymine.

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