What is DNA?
In cells, DNA is the nucleic acid that functions as the original blueprint for the synthesis of proteins. DNA contains the sugar deoxyribose, phosphates, and a unique sequence of the nitrogenous bases adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a nucleic acid which is directly involved in protein synthesis.
What is RNA?
Ribonucleic acid is an important nucleotide with long chains of nucleic acid present in all living cells. Its main role is to act as a messenger conveying instructions from DNA for controlling the proteins synthesis. RNA contains the sugar ribose, phosphates, and the nitrogenous bases adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and uracil (U). DNA and RNA share the nitrogenous bases A, G, and C. Thymine is usually only present in DNA and uracil is usually only present in RNA.
Differences between DNA and RNA
|Definition||DNA is a long polymer with a phosphate and deoxyribose backbone. It has four different bases: cytosine, thymine, adenine, and guanine.||RNA is a polymer with a phosphate and ribose backbone with four different bases: cytosine, uracil, adenine, and guanine.|
|Location||DNA is found in the nucleus of a cell and in mitochondria.||RNA is found in nucleus, cytoplasm, and in the ribosome.|
|Function||Transmission of the genetic information and medium of long-term storage||Transmission of the genetic code required for the creation of proteins from the nucleus to the ribosome.|
|Predominant Structure||A double-stranded molecule and has a long chain of nucleotides.||A single-stranded molecule and has a shorter chain of nucleotides.|
|Propagation||DNA is self-replicating.||Synthesized from DNA when needed.|
|Nitrogenous Bases and Pairing||A-T(Adenine pairs with Thymine), GC(Guanine pairs with Cytosine)||A-U(Adenine pairs with Uracil), GC(Guanine pairs with Cytosine)|
|Short for||Deoxyribonucleic acid||Ribonucleic acid|
Proteins play a critical role in how cells successfully meet the challenges of living. Cells use proteins to maintain their shape and to speed up important chemical reactions such as photosynthesis and respiration. A cell will not live long if it cannot reliably create the proteins that it needs for survival. This chapter looks at how cells reliably make proteins.
Role of Protein
To place these ideas in the proper context, remember that some proteins are enzymes that aid cells by catalyzing chemical reactions. These chemical reactions occur after the enzyme binds its substrate at the enzyme’s active site. The enzyme’s active site matches the substrate molecule in size, shape, and chemical properties.
The size, shape, and chemical properties of an enzyme’s active site are due to the combination of the enzyme’s amino acids, which are the individual subunits of the enzyme. For the cell to reliably make an enzyme, the cell must be able to control the placement of amino acids in a protein during the synthesis of enzymes.
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