Both deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA and ribonucleic acid or RNA are macromolecules called nucleic acids that play a role in the coding, decoding, regulation, and expression of genes. Along with other macromolecules such as carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins, DNA and RNA are essential for all known forms of life.
Another similarity between DNA and RNA is that they are made of a chain of nucleotides. Furthermore, because they are made of nucleotides, both are made of sugar structures, phosphate, and nitrogenous bases. However, these two have considerable differences.
What Are The Differenced Between DNA and RNA?
1. Structure and Size
One of the notable differences between DNA and RNA is physical structure. DNA is usually a double-stranded molecule while RNA is single-stranded. DNA is also considerably larger or longer than RNA. It has millions of nucleotides. On the other hand, RNA is smaller or shorter with hundreds to thousands of nucleotides.
2. Sugar Structure
Remember that both have sugar structures. Both have phosphate group and nitrogenous base in their sugar structure as well. However, their respective sugar structures are different. DNA has a deoxyribose sugar, hence the deoxyribonucleic acid name while RNA has a ribose structure, hence the name ribonucleic acid.
3. Nitrogenous Bases
DNA has four nitrogenous bases that include adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. Meanwhile, RNA also has four bases but they are composed of adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil. Hence, RNA does not have thymine but has uracil.
4. Location and Occurrence
Another difference between DNA and RNA is their respective location. DNA is primarily located in the nucleus of cells. Note that mitochondria and chloroplast have DNA as well. RNA is primarily outside the nucleus, primarily in cytosol and ribosomes.
5. General Functions
Both DNA and RNA play a role in the coding, decoding, regulation, and expression of genes. However, note that DNA is self-duplicating and more stable while RNA cannot duplicate itself and is less stable, thus making it more reactive. DNA is also the primary genetic material in all living organisms, while RNA is the primary genetic material for many viruses.
There are two types of DNA: nuclear DNA or those located in the nucleus of cells and extranuclear DNA or those found in mitochondria and chloroplast. RNA has three types: messenger DNA responsible for directing protein synthesis, ribosome RNA that serves the building blocks of ribosomes, and transfer RNA that functions as an adaptor molecule for protein synthesis.