The difference between DNA and RNA is that DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid and RNA is ribonucleic acid. Both are nucleic acids, macromolecules essential for the life of organisms.
The fundamental structure of nucleic acids are nucleotides, which consist of:
- a five-carbon or pentose sugar,
- a phosphate group and
- a nitrogen base.
Nucleotides connect to each other to form polynucleotide chains.
|Type of molecule||Deoxyribonucleic acid.||Ribonucleic acid.|
|Structure||Double chain.||Simple string|
|Nitrogenous Bases||Adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine.||Adenine, uracil, cytosine, and guanine.|
|Functions||Store and transfer genetic information.||Interpret the genetic code of DNA to drive protein synthesis.|
|Location in prokaryotes||Cytoplasm.||Cytoplasm.|
|Location in eukaryotes||Core, mitochondria.||Core, cytoplasm.|
What is DNA?
DNA is the genetic material present in all living things. In prokaryotes it is found in the cytoplasm of the cell; In the eukaryotic cell, it is found within the nucleus, in the mitochondria or chloroplasts.
It is a macromolecule of the group of nucleic acids and means deoxyribonucleic acid.
The basis of nucleic acids is the nucleotide. In DNA, the nucleotide is composed of:
- a five-carbon sugar (pentose) which is deoxyribose ;
- the phosphate group, which binds to the hydroxyl group of carbon 5 of deoxyribose and the hydroxyl of carbon 3 of another deoxyribose;
- Nitrogenous bases, which have nitrogen and can capture hydrogen, acquiring a basic character. In the DNA four nitrogenous bases are obtained: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine.
The DNA is found in the cell as a double chain that forms a helix.
Nucleotides bind and form a polynucleotide chain. The DNA is formed by two chains of polynucleotides that wind up forming a helix. We can see it as a spiral staircase, where the handrails are formed by phosphate and deoxyribose groups, and the steps are formed by pairs of nitrogenous bases.
The pairing of the nitrogen bases is also characteristic of DNA, adenine is complemented with thymine and guanine is supplemented with thymine. The analogy is like a piece of LEGO that fits with another piece.
DNA has two types:
- Nuclear DNA: is the DNA where all the genetic information of the cell is obtained and determines its function.
- Mitochondrial DNA: Mitochondria have their own DNA, which codes for the proteins necessary to carry out the function of these organelles. It is a circular DNA.
What is RNA?
RNA is a macromolecule of the nucleic acid group. RNA means ribonucleic acid. It is the link between DNA and cellular functioning. The genetic information stored in the DNA is “transcribed” to the RNA, which then “translates” the information into proteins. Proteins are the expression of genes.
In RNA, the nucleotide is composed of:
- a five-carbon sugar (pentose) that is ribose ;
- the phosphate group, which binds to the hydroxyl group of carbon 5 of one ribose and the hydroxyl of carbon 3 of another ribose;
- Nitrogenous bases, which have nitrogen and can capture hydrogen, acquiring a basic character. In the RNA four nitrogenous bases are obtained: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil.
RNA has a single polynucleotide chain and is smaller than DNA. Although it is a linear chain, there are RNAs that can fold over themselves.
There are several different types of RNA:
- Messenger RNA: is the copy of the DNA message in the form of RNA, for protein synthesis.
- Transfer RNA: is the RNA that transports amino acids to the ribosome, for the production of proteins.
- Ribosomal RNA: Ribosomes are structurally armed by RNA.
- MicroRNA: they are small RNAs that participate in genetic regulation.
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