Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) vs. Ribonucleic Acid (RNA)

The major difference between DNA and RNA is that DNA is a double helical structure while RNA is a single helical structure. Also, DNA contains deoxyribose sugar and has no oxygen atom while RNA contains ribose sugar and oxygen atoms.

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Deoxyribonucleic Acid DNA vs. Ribonucleic Acid RNA

Both deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are the types of genetic materials which transfer the information to the next progeny from parents. As the name indicates, DNA contains deoxyribose sugar lacking oxygen atom while RNA contains ribose sugar having oxygen atoms. Also, DNA has a double-stranded helical structure while RNA has a single-stranded structure.

Four types of nitrogenous bases are found in DNA, i.e., Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, and Thymine while in RNA, Thymine is not present instead of another base, i.e., Uracil is present.

In DNA, base pairing is of such type that Adenine pairs with Thymine while Guanine pairs with Cytosine. In RNA, Adenine binds with Uracil while Guanine binds with Cytosine.

DNA is liable to be damaged when it is exposed to ultraviolet radiations while RNA is not damaged by UV radiations.

DNA plays a key role in storing genetically transmitted information and transfers them to the next generation in multicellular organisms. RNA helps in gene expression and protein synthesis in the multicellular organisms while transfers the genetic information to the next generation in some viruses.

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DNA has no further subtypes while RNA has three subtypes according to their specific functions. These subtypes are mRNA, tRNA, and rRNA.

When kept in an alkaline medium, DNA is stable while RNA is not stable. It reacts with the medium.

When the copy of a DNA is required for newly formed cells, new DNA is copied from already present DNA in the same cell. This process is called a

replication of DNA. When RNA is required to be synthesized, RNA is formed from already present DNA. The process of synthesis of RNA from already present DNA is called transcription.

DNA has less reactive molecules because it lacks oxygen while RNA has more reactive molecules because its molecules have oxygen.

Comparison Chart

Basis Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) Ribonucleic acid (RNA)  
Definition  As the name indicates, it contains deoxyribose sugar and a chain of nucleotides. It is a type of genetic material which transfers the genetic information to the next progeny.As the name indicates, it contains ribonucleic acid and a chain of nucleotides. It is also a type of genetic material which also play some other functions in the cell.
Structure DNA contains a double helical structure which both strands are spirally twisted around each other resembling a ladder.RNA contains a single long strand of nucleotides which is attached with sugars. It does not have a double helical structure.
How it is synthesized When cell division occurs, the DNA is synthesized by copying the already present DNA in the parent molecule. This process is called a replication of DNA.When RNA is required to be synthesized, it is made from DNA. The process of formation of RNA from DNA is called transcription.
Function The major function of DNA is to transfer the genetic information in the next progeny.RNA plays a basic role in gene expression and the coding and decoding system. Gene expresses itself by synthesizing protein. RNA also transfers genetic information to the next progeny in some viruses.
Subtypes DNA has no further subtypes.RNA has three subtypes, i.e. mRNA (messenger RNA) , tRNA ( transfer RNA) and rRNA (ribosomal RNA)
Reactivity It is less reactive because it lacks oxygen.It is more reactive because it has oxygen in its molecules
Types of bases Four types of bases are present in the DNA molecule, i.e., adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine.It also has four types of bases, i.e., adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil instead of thymine.
Pairing of bases Adenine always makes a bond with thymine and guanine always pairs with cytosine.Just like DNA, adenine binds with thymine, but guanine binds with uracil.
Alkaline medium When kept in alkaline medium, DNA is stable.When kept in alkaline medium, RNA is not stable. It reacts with the medium.
Exposure to UV light rays When ultraviolet rays fall on it, DNA is damaged.RNA is not damaged when ultraviolet rays fall on it.
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What is DNA?

DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid which contains deoxyribose sugar and nucleotide chain. Watson and Crick gave the idea of the structure of DNA, so the newly accepted model of DNA is also named as Watson Crick Model of DNA. According to this model, DNA has a double-stranded structure which is twisted around each other like a double helix, and this structure resembles a ladder. DNA of all the organisms including prokaryotes and eukaryotes, stores the genetic information of the cells and transfers this information to the next generation. When cell division occurs, first its DNA is synthesized by copying the already present DNA in the parent cell. This process of copying the DNA is called a replication of DNA. Later on, after the division, two identical cells are formed. The reason of resemblance among the parents and children is this DNA, which transfers the genetic information of parents to their kids. There are four types of nucleotide bases are present in DNA, i.e., adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. Adenine and guanine are collectively termed as purines while guanine and cytosine are collectively termed as pyrimidines. Adenine always makes pair with thymine by a double bond while guanine always makes pair with cytosine by a triple bond.

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What is RNA?

RNA is ribonucleic acid. As the name indicates, it contains ribose sugar and a chain of nucleotides. It does not have a double helical structure like DNA. It has a single chain which is twisted. Four types of nucleotide bases are present in the RNA, i.e., adenine, guanine, and cytosine just like DNA but uracil in place of thymine. Adenine always makes a bond with thymine through a double bond while thymine always makes pair with uracil via a triple bond. RNA is further subdivided into three subtypes, i.e., messenger RNA, ribosomal RNA, and transfer RNA. Ribosomal RNA is found in ribosomes which act as the factory of protein synthesis. Transfer RNA transfer the nucleotides to the newly synthesized chain of RNA. Messenger RNA takes messages for protein synthesis. Thus the major function of RNA is the protein synthesis in the cells. RNA also function in the coding and decoding system and gene expression. Gene expression occurs by protein synthesis which is the major function of RNA. The process of generation of RNA from DNA is called transcription while the process of synthesis of protein from RNA is called translation. Some viruses contain only DNA while some viruses contain only RNA and in some viruses, it is the only mode of transfer of genetic information to the next progeny.

Key Differences

  1. DNA contains deoxyribose sugar while RNA contains ribose sugar.
  2. DNA has a double helical ladder-like structure while RNA has a single-stranded structure twisted upon itself.
  3. The bases of DNA are adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine while those of RNA are adenine, guanine, cytosine, and
  4. The major function of DNA is to store the genetic information and transfer them to the next progeny while that of RNA is to synthesize protein in the cell and gene expression.
  5. The process of synthesis of new DNA copy is called replication while the process of synthesis of RNA from DNA is called transcription.

Conclusion

DNA and RNA both are types of genetic material. Both have differences in structure and function. It is compulsive for biology students to know the differences between both of them. In the above article, we learned the clear differences between DNA and RNA.

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