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How is RNA different from DNA?

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Quick Answer

RNA, or ribonucleic acid, is responsible for the transfer of genetic information to cell components called ribosomes. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is responsible for the transfer and duplication of long-term genetic information during cell reproduction. They are both essential to the process of creating new organisms and the biological functions of organisms.

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RNA and DNA are composed of smaller units of sugar, phosphate and nitrogen called nucleotides, which are found in the nuclei of cells. RNA takes form as a single-strand helix of these nucleotides, while DNA is double-stranded and contains a longer chain of nucleotides than RNA. Slight differences in the nucleotide structure of DNA and RNA affect their functions and how they interact with each other. RNA is capable of extracting the genetic information stored in DNA for further use in genetic functions.

DNA is self-replicating and serves the function of storing and transferring genetic data from one cell to another during reproduction through chromosomes. Chromosomes contain genetic information necessary for cell reproduction and the determination of individual traits in new organisms. RNA is synthesized from DNA, and its stored genetic information is utilized in proteins called amino acids. These proteins are delivered to cell components called ribsosomes, which are responsible for the determination of specific cell functions and gene expression.

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