What is DNA?

Deoxyribonucleic acid, a self-replicating material present in nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes. It is the carrier of genetic information.

What does DNA do?

DNA sequences must be converted into messages that can be used to produce proteins, which are the complex molecules that do most of the work in our bodies.

What is RNA?

Ribonucleic acid, a nucleic acid present in all living cells. Its principal role is to act as a messenger carrying instructions from DNA for controlling the synthesis of proteins, although in some viruses RNA rather than DNA carries the genetic information.

Types of RNA

  • mRNA transcribes the genetic code from DNA into a form that can be read and used to make proteins. mRNA carries genetic information from the nucleus to the cytoplasm of a cell.
  • rRNA is located in the cytoplasm of a cell, where ribosomes are found. rRNA directs the translation of mRNA into proteins.
  • Like rRNA, tRNA is located in the cellular cytoplasm and is involved in protein synthesis. Transfer RNA brings or transfers amino acids to the ribosome that correspond to each three-nucleotide codon of rRNA.

What does RNA do?

It is essential for the information in DNA to remain stable. You can think of the DNA as the "master copy" of a computer program. When you get a new program, you first copy it from the purchased disk onto the hard drive and use that copy of the program for your daily use. You store the original copy of the program away and only use it if the working copy of the program crashes.
DNA Structure