25 Top-Rated Difference between DNA and RNA with Comparison Table

What is the difference between DNA and RNA?

Nucleic acid is made up of DNA and RNA. Nucleic acids are quite common in eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Both tend to be polymers of nucleotides and they play an essential role in genetics.

The core difference between DNA and RNA is that RNA contains ribose sugars while DNA contains de-oxy-ribose. Besides that, RNA uses Uracil instead of thymine which is present in DNA. Let’s find out more:

Difference between DNA and RNA

DNA Meaning

DNA is an abbreviation of deoxyribonucleic acid and it tends to carry genetic information that is quite vital in living organisms.

DNA stranded are normally double-stranded. It tends to replicate and store genetic information. It is considered to be the blueprint for all genetic information in organisms.

The main nitrogenous base of DNA is thymine (T), guanine (G), cytosine(C), and adenine (A). They are crucial in determining the genetic code.

RNA Meaning

RNA is an abbreviation of ribonucleic acid. It is a nucleic acid that is directly involved in the synthesis of proteins.

The core function is to act as a messenger by conveying messenger from DNA to help in the control of protein synthesis.

RNA tends to contain sugar ribose, phosphates, and the nitrogenous bases adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and uracil (U).

Comparison Chart: DNA vs RNA

Basic TermsDNARNA
Stands ForDeoxyribonucleic AcidRibonucleic Acid
Sugar Portion2-DeoxyriboseRibose
Helix GeometryB-Form (A or Z also present).A-Form.
Predominant StructureDouble strandSingle strand
Length of Nucleotide ChainLong-chainShort Chain
Nitrogenous BaseAdenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine.Adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil.
PropagationSelf-replicationSynthesized from DNA
Proportionality of Purine and PyrimidineEqualNot proportional
Ultraviolet DamageHighly affected by UVRelatively resistant to UV damage
Hydrogen BondBetween complementary bases of nitrogen such as (A-T, C-G).Occurs in the coiled parts.
locationNucleus and mitochondriaNucleus, cytoplasm, and ribosomes
LeavingDoes not leave the nucleusLeave nucleus as mRNA
StabilityFairly stable due to C-H bondUnstable in alkaline condition
Renaturation after meltingSlowFast
TypesOccur in two types like intranuclear and extranuclear.Occur in three types like m-RNA, t-RNA, and rRNA.
Fixed or VariableQuantity is fixedQuantity is variable
Core FunctionLong term storage and transmission of genetic informationTransfer genetic code from the nucleus to ribosomes for protein synthesis.
Base PairsAdenine and Thymine pair (A-T) Cytosine and Guanine pair (C-G)Adenine and Uracil pair (A-U) Cytosine and Guanine pair (C-G) 
Catalytic ActivityDo not have catalytic activityRibozymes are the main catalytic activity
The effect in alkaline solutionStableUnstable
GroovesComparatively smaller groovesComparatively larger grooves
Histone ProteinsAssociated with itNot associated at all
Pyronin Dye effectStain greenStain red
Azureph Thalate Dye effectStain BlueStain red

Core Differences between DNA and RNA

  1. DNA is an abbreviation of Deoxyribonucleic Acid while RNA stands for Ribonucleic Acid.
  2. The sugar portion of DNA is 2-Deoxyribose while that of RNA is Ribose.
  3. The helix geometry of RNA is A-form while that of DNA is B-form
  4. DNA is a double-stranded molecule while RNA is a single-stranded molecule
  5. The propagation of DNA is self-replication while that of RNA is synthesized from DNA.
  6. DNA is highly damaged by UV while RNA is relatively resistant to UV damage
  7. DNA is present in mitochondria and nucleus while RNA is present in the cytoplasm, nucleus, and ribosomes.
  8. DNA does not leave the nucleus while RNA tends to leave in the form of mRNA.

Core Similarities between DNA and RNA

  1. Both act as genetic materials
  2. Both are polymers of nucleotides
  3. Both have pentose sugars
  4. Both contain hydrogen bond

Comparison Video


Understanding the core difference between DNA and RNA with a comparison chart has made things easier. You can also use the point forms for deeper understanding and finer details. Good luck with your research and preparation for exams.

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