DNA and RNA are the two key molecules that make up the building blocks of life. If you’re just getting into biology, or want to brush up on your basics, below there is a quick breakdown of them.
DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, and it provides a blueprint for all cellular activity. It is made from two strands that form a double helix and contains genetic information which regulates the development and functioning of living organisms.
RNA stands for ribonucleic acid, and it helps the body to interpret DNA instructions. It is made from one strand and looks different from DNA, but works in tandem with DNA in order to provide instructions for everything from growth and development to reproduction. At its core difference between DNA and RNA, DNA carries the genetic information necessary for life while RNA acts as an interpreter—taking those instructions and allowing them to be put into action.
What Is the Function of DNA & RNA?
DNA and RNA are the building blocks of life, but even the most experienced biology student may have trouble determining what exactly they do. Fortunately, understanding their functions isn’t as daunting as it sounds. To put it simply, DNA stores information and RNA carries out instructions from that information.
Think of DNA as the brain of a living organism—it stores genetic information and instructions for making proteins, which are key components for cell growth and stability. This means that all cells in an organism will have the same instructions for making proteins stored in the same form of DNA—which is how an organism’s characteristics are passed down from one generation to the next ones.
RNA on the other hand is more like a messenger for the instructions stored in DNA. It travels throughout an organism carrying out instructions from its DNA by replicating them or helping build proteins. In other words, it carries DNA’s messages to other parts of the body to make sure they are carried out properly and efficiently.
Difference Between DNA and RNA
What’s the difference between DNA and RNA? Let’s break it down.
- DNA: The Master Molecule
DNA is the molecule responsible for coding all of your hereditary information, and it makes up your genes. It exists in almost every single cell in your body – those cells contain more than 3 billion base pairs, which are components of a DNA strand that pair together like rungs on a ladder.
- RNA: The Messenger
RNA helps get the instructions coded into DNA out of the nucleus and into the rest of the cell, where they can be used. It’s like a messenger, carrying instructions from one part of the cell to another. These instructions help to create proteins that control how cells behave.
DNA and RNA are two critical pieces for life as we know it—DNA stores our genetic information, while RNA helps that information get around. Although both play different roles in keeping our bodies functioning, we wouldn’t be here without them!