Maddie Hopkins // January 13, 2014

DNA {deoxyribonucleic acid}

Every living being is made up of hereditary material known as deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA for short. DNA contains an organism's genetic code and is located in the cell's nucleus.

DNA are assembled of monomers called nucleotides. Nucleotides are made of three basic components; a 5-carbon sugar known widely as deoxyribose, a phosphate group, and finally a nitrogen base.

{below is a picture depicting the nucleotide of a DNA molecule}

The 4 Nitrogen Bases

There are four nitrogen bases found in DNA; Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, and Thymine.

Adenine and Thymine pair together because they're in the compound group of Purines. The other two nitrogen bases, Guanine and Cytosine, pair together because they're found in the compound group of Pyrimidines.

RNA {ribonucleic acid}

RNA mainly acts as a messenger that carries information from DNA to control the synthesization of proteins and comes in many different forms; mRNA (messenger), tRNA (transfer), and rRNA (ribosomal).

mRNA is mainly used to carry genetic information from the nucleus and to ribosomes where it can be translated to form proteins.

tRNA is mainly used to read the mRNA to be able to synthesize proteins.

rRNA mainly makes up ribosomes.

Differences in DNA & RNA


  • has a double stranded structure called a double helix
  • has deoxyribose
  • contains Thymine


  • has a single stranded structure
  • has ribose
  • contains the nitrogen base Uracil which replaces Thymine and pairs with the base Adenine

Protein Synthesis


Transcription is basically copying part of the DNA sequence into a complementary RNA sequence. This process takes place in the nucleus and requires RNA polymerase, which is an enzyme similar to DNA polymerase. The purpose of transcription to basically produce RNA molecules.


Translation happens in a cell's ribosomes and the main purpose is to produce proteins for the cell. During this process, the cells uses information from the mRNA to produce these specific proteins.

{below is a picture depicting the process of translation}