Similarities Between DNA And RNA

What are the similarities and differences between DNA and RNA?

Expert Answers
cntryfrog eNotes educator| Certified Educator


- 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.

jdkotliar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

adarshanurag | Student

DNA- Deoxyribonucleic acid

RNA- Ribonucleic Acid


1.They are nucleic acid.

2.They have nitrogenous base.

3.They help in the formation of proteins.

4.They contain pentose sugars.


1.In RNA instead of thymine, uracil is present.<-----(major difference)

2.DNA is double helix structure whereas RNA is single helix structure.

3. DNA has de-oxyribose sugar. RNA has ribose sugar.

4.DNA stores the genetic information of an organism, while RNA conveys messages.

giorgiana1976 | Student


DNA and RNA contain purine and pyrimidine nitrogenous bases, one benzoic acid radicle and one pentose.


- The RNA specific nitrogenous base is uracil while the specific DNA nitrogenous base is thymine.

- The RNA specific pentose is ribose while DNA specific pentose is deoxyribose.

parama9000 | Student

DNA is double stranded while RNA is single strand.

DNA cannot move out of the nucleus RNA can.

Both consist of nitrogenous bases and are crucial to the production of proteins.

jess1999 | Student


  • DNA stands for DeoxyriboNucleicAcid and RNA stands for RiboNucleicAcid
  • DNA is double stranded while RNA is single stranded
  • DNA is only located in the nucleus while RNA can travel out of the nucleus


  • Both have nitrogenous base
  • Have guanine and cytosine
  • Necessary for cells to produce proteins
zumba96 | Student

While DNA is double stranded, RNA is single stranded. DNA carries genetic information to make proteins and RNA copies its code from the DNA and carries it TO the ribosomes to make protein. 

adkinsha | Student

DNA and RNA are two different nucleic acids found in the cells of every living organism. Both have significant roles to play in cell biology. DNA and RNA structure are similar because they both consist of long chains of nucleotide units. However, there are a few structural details that distinguish them from each other, and if you are to compare DNA and RNA, these would be the results:

(1) RNA is single-stranded while DNA is a double-stranded helix. (2) RNA also has uracil as its base while the DNA base is thymine. However, even with the differences in their structures, DNA and RNA have cooperating roles in the field of Cell Biology.

DNA contains the genetic information of an organism, and this information dictates how the body’s cells would construct new proteins according to the genetic code of the organism. Within the cell structure, DNA is organized into structures called chromosomes, which are duplicated during cell division.

These chromosomes would then release the genetic codes that will be transcribed and carried by the RNA (specifically the messenger RNA) to the ribosome. The ribosome will then synthesize new proteins that will help the body grow. This is the how the DNA and RNA work together in the body.


piyushrajdharmi | Student

DNA is double stranded, it carries the coded genetic information for making proteins, the code is in four bases, argenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine. RNA is single stranded molecule that copies the code from the DNA and carries it to the ribosomes to make new proteins. It has the same bases except that thymine is replace by uracil. And of course the sugar in DNA is deoxy ribose whereas RNA is just ribose.

piyushrajdharmi | Student

DNA-deoxyribonucleic acid
is double stranded
contains the nucleotides ATGand C
stays in the nucleus


RNA-Ribonucleic acid
single stranded
unlike DNA, RNA can move in and out of the nucleus
used to make protiens in the processes transcription and translation


rileyb | Student

Both DNA and RNA are composed of repeating units of nucleotides. Each nucleotide consists of a sugar, a phosphate and a nucleic acid base. The sugar in DNA is deoxyribose. The sugar in RNA is ribose, the same as deoxyribose but with one more OH (oxygen-hydrogen atom combination called a hydroxyl). This is the biggest difference between DNA and RNA. Another difference is that RNA molecules can have a much greater variety of nucleic acid bases. DNA has mostly just 4 different bases with a few extra occasionally. The difference in these bases (between DNA and RNA) allows RNA molecules to assume a wide variety of shapes and also many different functions. DNA, on the other hand, serves as a set of directions and that's about all (but that's absolutely necessary!).

J6 | Student

DNA and RNA are two different nucleic acids found in the cells of every living organism. They both each have significan roles to play in cell biology.


1) RNA is single-stranded whereas DNA is a double-stranded helix

2) DNA also has uracil as its base while the DNA base is thymime.

3) DNA is composed of deoxyribose sugar while RNA is made up of ribose sugar.

4) DNA stores the genetic informaiton of an organism, while RNA acts as a messenger that relays the genetic infomation from the nucleus to the ribosome.

ella301 | Student

well the difference is that dna's bases are thymine guanine cytosine and adine. But Rna instead of haveing thymine has uricil. Dna in mosto of the time doubled stranded when rna is normally single stranded. The dna contains the genetic information and the rna transferes the information into proteins...

jaguar174 | Student

DNA and RNA contain purine and pyrimidine nitrogenous bases, one benzoic acid radicle and one pentose.


- The RNA specific nitrogenous base is uracil while the specific DNA nitrogenous base is thymine.

- The RNA specific pentose is ribose while DNA specific pentose is deoxyribose.

saad19296 | Student

DNA has Thymine wher as in RNA it is been replaced by Uracil

coldwindz | Student

RNA                             VERSUS DNA

Single polynucleotide chain (single-stranded)

Double polynucleotide chain (double-stranded)

Smaller molecule

Larger molecule

May have single or double helix

Always double helix

Ribose sugar

Deoxyribose sugar

Made up of the organic bases: Adenine, Cytosine, Uracil (in place of Thymine), Guanine

Made up of the organic bases: Adenine, Cytosine, Thymine, Guanine

Formed in nucleus, found throughout cell

Formed & found in nucleus

Transient; Chemically less stable

Permanent; Chemically very stable

3 basic forms: mRNA, tRNA, rRNA

1 basic form

turtleshell101 | Student


-both have nitrogenous bases.

-both involved in the production of protiens.


-Dna is doubled stranded Rna is single stranded.

-Rna leaves the nucleus while Dna cannot.

-Rna is just a copy and Dna is the real thing.

trissapaul | Student

It's all in the chart I'm using as a reference. It'll be easier to look at the chart. (:

user1716540 | Student

DNA is diribo due to the absence of oxygen while RNA ribo due to the precences of oxygen

rajatnegi13 | Student

DNA and RNA both are nucleic acids. Nucleic acids are made of three parts:

1. base

2. phosphoric acid group

3. sugar 

#in DNA the sugar is alpha 2 deoxyribose, whereas in RNA it is alpha ribose.

#also one major difference is of the base.

in DNA four types of bases are found namely, cytosine, adenine, guanine and thymine. 

In RNA all the bases are same except thymine. In place of thymine there is a base called Uracil.

# third difference is in the name itself 

in DNA an oxygen at second carbon is missing while in RNA it isn't.

lovepeacea | Student

DNA is double-stranded, RNA is single-stranded


                    The easy way :D

shik6991 | Student

dna is diribo whwreas rna is ribo


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