Difference Between DNA and RNA


Life on earth is full of diversification, from a single-celled protozoan to complicated multicellular plants and animals. But if we talk about the molecular levels, all life is fundamentally utilizing the same building blocks, DNA and RNA. Both of them are different from each other, and if you want to learn more about the differences between these two, then keep reading this blog. You will get to know more about them and their differences.


In cells, DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) serves as the primary nucleic acid, functioning as the original blueprint for protein synthesis. Composed of sugar deoxyribose, phosphates, and a distinct sequence of nitrogenous bases (adenine [A], guanine [G], cytosine [C], and thymine [T]), DNA contains essential instructions for growth, development, and reproduction. These instructions are inherited from parents and passed down to offspring.

DNA is made up of nucleotides, each consisting of a nitrogenous group, a phosphate group, and a sugar group. The specific order of nitrogenous bases (T, G, C, A) is crucial in determining the genetic code.

Genes are formed by the unique arrangement of nitrogenous bases within DNA, which is vital for protein synthesis. On the other hand, RNA is another nucleic acid that carries genetic information from DNA to facilitate protein production.

The DNA molecules come together to form two long strands that adopt a double-helix structure. This structure resembles a ladder, with sugar and phosphate molecules forming the sides and nitrogenous bases serving as the rungs. The bases on one strand pair up with the bases on the other strand, with guanine pairing with cytosine and adenine pairing with thymine.

Due to their considerable length, DNA molecules need to be tightly packaged to fit inside cells. Thus, DNA is coiled tightly to form structures known as chromosomes. In humans, each chromosome contains a single DNA molecule, and the nucleus of cells typically contains 23 pairs of chromosomes. 

Types of DNA:

  • A-DNA: It has a relative humidity of 75% in an environment where there are chances of higher salt concentration or other ionic concentration.
  • B-DNA: B-DNA is the most common form, and it is presented in most DNA at neutral pH and physiological salt concentrations. It has ten base pairs per turn from the helix axis.
  • C-DNA: Observed at a relative humidity of 66% and in the occupancy of a few ions, such as lithium (Li+). It has 9.33 base pairs on every turn.
  • D-DNA: D-DNA is rarely observed as an extreme variant. It has eight base pairs which are titled negatively from the helix axis.
  • Z-DNA: Found in an environment with a very high salt concentration, and it has a left-handed helical structure.


Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a nucleic acid which is directly involved in protein synthesis. Ribonucleic acid is a crucial nucleotide with longer chains of nucleic acid that is present in all living cells. It mainly acts as a messenger, conveying instructions from DNA for controlling protein synthesis.

RNA has sugar ribose, phosphates, and the nitrogenous bases adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and uracil (U). DNA and RNA share the same nitrogenous bases A, G, and C. Thymine is only present in DNA, while uracil is usually only present in RNA. (“DNA vs RNA – Introduction and Differences between DNA and RNA”)

Types Of RNA:

There are only some genes in cells which are expressed in RNA. Read about the following types of RNA, wherein each type is encoded by its own type of gene:

  • tRNA: The transfer RNA or the tRNA has amino acids to ribosomes while in translation.
  • mRNA: mRNA encodes amino acid sequences of a polypeptide.
  • rRNA: The ribosomal RNA or the tRNA produces ribosomes with the ribosomal proteins, which are organelles responsible for mRNA translation.
  • snRNA: The small nuclear RNA forms the complexes and proteins utilized in eukaryotes’ RNA processing.

Final Thoughts

By reading this blog, we are confident that you have acquired ample knowledge about the distinctions between RNA and DNA. These fundamental elements each hold unique characteristics and play crucial roles in various biological processes. Given their significance in Molecular Biology, if you find yourself in need of PCR plastic consumables in bulk, look no further than MBP Inc. We offer a wide range of high-quality products to cater to your laboratory requirements.

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