What is the function of RNA?


Quick Answer

RNA, or ribonucleic acid, is a family of biological molecules that function in gene synthesis, regulation and expression. Along with DNA, RNA plays an active role in transcribing and translating genes and proteins that make up the human body.

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Full Answer

In total, there are three types of RNA that each have their own functions. Messenger RNA are synthesized directly from a gene segment of DNA. Once the messenger RNA is synthesized, it is transported to the cytoplasm. In the cytoplasm, protein synthesis occurs. This process is known as translation and involves ribosomal RNA and transfer RNA. Ribosomal RNA and proteins combine in the cytoplasm to form a ribosome. The ribosome holds all of the enzymes necessary for protein synthesis. It attaches to the messenger RNA and stabilizes it while proteins are synthesized from the genetic code encrypted in the messenger RNA. Next, transfer RNA reads the genetic code on the messenger RNA in the cytoplasm and translates the code into three base amino acids. The amino acids exit the ribosome which is still stabilizing the messenger RNA. The amino acids can then exit the cell to form proteins. Without RNA, none of these processes could occur. RNA allows the cell to create amino acids which aid in gene synthesis, regulation and expression.

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