What are ten similarities and differences between DNA and RNA?

Quick answer:

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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Similarities between DNA and RNA:

1. DNA and RNA are both nucleic acids.

2. DNA and RNA are both macromolecules, polymers made up of repeating units or monomers.

3. The monomers of both DNA and RNA are a combination of a nucleotide, a sugar, and a phosphate group.

4. Both DNA and RNA can store hereditary information.

5. Both DNA and RNA can undergo change, or mutation.

6. Both DNA and RNA are replicated before a cell divides, so that each cell gets a copy.

7. In both DNA and some RNA, the sequence of nucleotides constitutes the instructions for the sequence of amino acids used in synthesizing a protein.

8. In eukaryotic cells, both DNA and RNA are found both inside and outside the nucleus.

9. Both DNA and RNA can be cut by restriction enzymes.

10. Both DNA and RNA contain the nucleotides adenine, cytosine, and guanine.

Differences between DNA and RNA:

1. The sugar in RNA is ribose while in DNA it is deoxyribose.

2. DNA contains the nucleotide thymine, while RNA contains uracil and no thymine.

3. The DNA that stores and transmits hereditary information in eukaryotes is double-stranded, while RNA is always single-stranded.

4. DNA fulfills the functions of storing and transmitting hereditary information and supplying the instructions for protein synthesis, while RNA can fulfill other functions as well, such as messenger RNA and transfer RNA.

5. All living things (including cellular life) contain RNA but not all have DNA.

6. Meiosis is a mechanism for redistributing DNA as part of sexual reproduction. There is no analogue using RNA.

7. In eukaryotic cells, DNA and RNA are found in different locations. The DNA that stores and transmits the organism’s hereditary information is located in the nucleus, while certain organelles (mitochondria and chloroplasts) have their own DNA. RNA is found in different specific locations. Transfer RNA is found in the cytoplasm, ribosomal RNA is found in the ribosomes, and messenger RNA is synthesized in the nucleus and moves out of the nucleus to the ribosomes.

8. DNA, but not RNA, can undergo the process of crossing over during meiosis.

9. Many restriction enzymes are specific to double-stranded DNA and will not cut RNA.

10. DNA, because it contains deoxyribose instead of ribose, is more stable with respect to chemical reactions than RNA.

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What are the similarities and differences between DNA and RNA?

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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What are the similarities and differences between DNA and RNA?


- 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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Compare and contrast DNA and RNA. 

The two of them are mostly similar to each other, but they do differ in overall structure and function. Both DNA and RNA are made of a simple three-part structure called a nucleotide. A nucleotide contains a phosphate, a sugar, and a nitrogen base. They are arranged in the shape of an "L." The phosphate is the top, the sugar is just below that, and the base sticks out to the side. That structure is attached to a mirror image of it on the other side to form what looks like a "U" or a single ladder rung. Repeat for billions of "rungs," twist it like a corkscrew, and you have made the familiar looking DNA double helix. Remove either the left or right side of the entire strand in order to have a single helix, and that is the basic shape of RNA.

DNA has four bases, and they are adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. They can be abbreviated by using the first letter of each base. A pairs up with T. C pairs with G. RNA does not have thymine. Instead, it uses uracil to pair up with adenine.

DNA is contained within the nucleus and is the genetic blueprint. Ribosomes are the protein-producing factories, but they exist outside of the nucleus. This means that DNA has to send its message from the nucleus to the ribosomes. It does this by copying down the message onto a strand of RNA. The RNA then leaves the nucleus and takes the message to the ribosomes.

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Describe some differences and similarities between DNA and RNA.


Both of the molecules are used to store and regulate the use of genetic information in a living organism. They are both built using essentially the same molecular structure, being phosphate groups and sugars chained together as a "backbone" with variable nitrogenous bases utilized as the "alphabet" by which the information is encoded. 


The sugar used in RNA is ribose, as opposed to deoxyribose in DNA. The difference is the absence of a single oxygen atom in deoxyribose. DNA is normally double-stranded whereas RNA is normally single-stranded, although it possible and observed for RNA to be double-stranded as well. RNA can make use of a number of additional nitrogenous bases that aren't found in DNA, such as pseudouridine and dihydrouridine. RNA can also take on relatively unique shapes, such as the tRNA form, which are critical to their function. RNA also uses uracil instead of the thymine found in DNA. DNA is used for long-term, highly-conserved genetic information, whereas RNA tends to be shorter-term, production-based disposable copies. 

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What are the differences between DNA and RNA?

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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