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How is the structure of DNA different from that of RNA?

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closed as off-topic by fileunderwater, ddiez, Chris, MattDMo, terdon Oct 30 '14 at 17:52

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  • "Homework questions are off-topic on Biology unless you have shown your attempt at an answer. For more information see our homework policy." – fileunderwater, ddiez, Chris, MattDMo, terdon
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ This looks like homework. See the homework policy of BioSE. $\endgroup$ – fileunderwater Oct 30 '14 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ Seems like an odd homework post though, he answered his own question. $\endgroup$ – user137 Oct 30 '14 at 16:23
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DNA and RNA are similar, but different molecules. Both are made up of nucleic acids attached to a backbone made of phosphate and a sugar forming a nucleotide. DNA uses the nucleic acids Guanine, Cytosine, Adenine, and Thymine, while RNA replaces Thymine with Uridine. enter image description here enter image description here The nucleic acids can form pairs due to hydrogen bonding, which allows the DNA/RNA to store information, if one strand has a C, the other must have a G and vice versa. Same applies for A and T. enter image description here

While both molecules are capable of forming double helices by hydrogen bonding between G and C or A and T/U, the types of helix tend to be different. DNA prefers to form what is known as a B type helix, while RNA prefers the A type.

enter image description here

The left most helix is A type, the middle is B type, and the right helix is Z type, a highly unusual form found only under certain conditions.

DNA is almost always found as a double stranded molecule, and is primarily responsible for storing the information for making proteins and RNA and regulatory functions in cells. RNA is made by copying information from DNA through a process known as transcription and performs a variety of roles. Messenger RNA, or mRNA, carries information from DNA to ribosomes where it is used to build proteins through translation. Transfer RNA, or tRNA, carries amino acids to ribosomes to build proteins. The ribosome itself is made of RNA, known as rRNA, with proteins to help it function. Even through RNA is usually made up of only 1 strand, it can fold up and form complex shapes, such as the characteristic tRNA structure shown below. Some RNA molecules can even act as catalysts, carrying out chemical reactions such as cutting up other RNAs. These catalytic RNAs are known as ribozymes.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ good answer, but could you add some references of where you got the images? $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Oct 30 '14 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ The images all came from the wikipedia pages I link to in the answer. Didn't realize the image URLs get converted to an imgur link so you can't even get the original URL by clicking on edit to look at the source code. $\endgroup$ – user137 Oct 30 '14 at 17:15

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