Mini Wiki 3: RNA

Last time on mini wikis we looked at DNA well now we’re going to look at DNAs little brother RNA. Or if you want to use the full title that’s Ribonucleic Acid. As always you can always skip to the bottom for our 5 things you have to know about ribonucleic acid.

What does RNA do?

RNA is often compared to a copy from a reference book, or a template, because it carriesRNA-diagram.jpg the same information as its DNA template but is not used for long-term storage.  There are three types of RNA that’s messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA), and ribosomal RNA (rRNA). RNA then goes on to make proteins for use in the cell (1).

How is RNA made?

RNA has the same ingredients as DNA in that each ribonucleotide base contains a ribose sugar and a phosphate backbone with a nitrogenous base. The four nitrogenous bases found in RNA are adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and uracil (U). It’s made from DNA in a process called transcription using the enzyme RNA polymerase. I went on about that way back when in Mini Wiki 1.

How is RNA different from DNA?

  • Firstly RNA is a linear molecule unlike the double helix of DNA (1).
  • RNA does not contain the nitrogenous base Thymine, it is replaced with the base Uracil (2).
  • RNA can be found outside of the nucleus unlike DNA and the lack of a paired strand allows RNA to fold into complex, three-dimensional structures(2).
  • RNA also plays an important role in regulating cellular processes–from cell division, differentiation and growth to cell aging and death (3).

5 things you need to know about RNA

  1. RNA carries the same genetic information as DNA but it works like a photocopy.
  2. RNA is made from four nucleotide bases, A,C,U and G.
  3. RNA can be found outside of the nucleus.
  4. There are three types of RNA.
  5. RNA is used to make proteins.

References

(1) = http://www.nature.com/scitable/definition/ribonucleic-acid-rna-45

(2) = http://exploringorigins.org/rna.html

(3) = http://www.rnasociety.org/about/what-is-rna/

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