Q:

How do you define "mRNA"?

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Quick Answer

Messenger RNA, referred to as mRNA, is a ribonucleic acid that provides a blueprint for the construction of proteins. It carries codes from the deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, in the nucleus to the protein synthesis sites in the cytoplasm.

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Full Answer

It is not possible to directly decode the information for synthesizing proteins present in the DNA. RNA polymerase helps transcribe the pattern on a strand of RNA, producing mRNA. Each mRNA molecule encodes the pattern of one protein. In the case of bacteria, mRNA encodes the information for more than one protein. There are regions on mRNA that are not a part of the protein pattern. These are known as introns. Before the release of mRNA from the cell nucleus, excision of introns takes place, leaving only the segments known as exons. Then, transfer RNA, or tRNA, helps in the construction of the protein by reading the pattern for protein synthesis and translating it into the language of amino acids.

In prokaryotes, organisms without distinct nuclei, mRNA carries the exact copy of the original DNA sequence. More elaborate mRNA molecules are present in eukaryotes, organisms with clearly defined nuclei. Generally, the prokaryotic mRNA degrades rapidly, whereas the stability of eukaryotic mRNA is enhanced.

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