Genetic Material :: DNA vs RNA


Studying humans and genetics can help scientists better understand where humans came from as a species. It can help elucidate the connections between different groups of people and give historians and anthropologists a clearer picture of historic human migration patterns.



Not every organism has DNA as their hereditary material, some have RNA. However, DNA is the predominant one. In the majority of higher level organisms, RNA plays the role of a messenger. Though both are nucleic acids, this difference in functions persist, why? Scientist elucidates that, this is due to the difference between the chemical structure of DNA and RNA. For a molecule to be considered as genetic material, it must accomplish certain properties. They are as follows:


  • Replication- it should be able to produce its copies.
  • It should have chemical and structural stability.
  • Mutation- it should offer a chance for evolution.
  • It should possess hereditary unit which expresses in the form of ”Mendelian Characters’’.



The unstable nature of RNA makes it more labile to mutation. This property help virus with RNA as the genetic material evolves at a faster rate. At last, coming to the expression of Mendelian characters, RNA is much faster than DNA. That is RNA can independently code for protein synthesis while DNA is dependent on RNA for this. RNA acts as a messenger for DNA for protein synthesis.



The difference between DNA and RNA explains the reason why DNA serves as the genetic material instead of RNA. By comparing DNA and RNA, it is evident that both the nucleic acids are able to replicate. Stability is an important criterion which should not change with the physiological characteristics of an organism. DNA fulfills this criterion.



Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA is a long molecule that contains our unique genetic code. Like a recipe book it holds the instructions for making all the proteins in our bodies. 

Has a unique structure of a twisted double helix.


 There are four types of RNA: messenger (m)RNA, transfer (t)RNA, ribosomal (r)RNA, and small nuclear (sn)RNA. Together, these serve to carry the genetic information stored by DNA in the cell nucleus to other parts of the cell where it is converted into protein.

The main function of RNA is to carry information of amino acid sequence from the genes to where proteins are assembled on ribosomes in the cytoplasm. This is done by messenger RNA (mRNA). A single strand of DNA is the blueprint for the mRNA which is transcribed from that DNA strand.



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