All living organisms are made up of cells which constitute nucleic acids namely DNA and RNA. They are the most important macromolecules in living things which together with body proteins function in transmitting, encoding and expressing genetic information within body cells. The functional unit of nucleic acids is the nucleotide which consists of three components including a pentose sugar (either ribose or deoxyribose), a phosphate group and a nitrogenous base. DNA (Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid) is the macromolecule that is found within the nucleus of all living organisms. It carries with it vital genetic information that defines how an organism grows. DNA is made up of two intertwined strands, thus it is said to be a double stranded helix. RNA on the other hand consists of a single strand. This is the most important difference between the two nucleic acids. However, another significant distinction is that DNA contains the base, thymine while RNA contains uracil as its base in place of thymine. Despite these slight differences, the two nucleic acids function hand in hand in building the genetic structure of living cells.
DNA is made up of units called chromosomes which have a very significant role in reproduction where they duplicate in a process known as cell division. Following cell division, the chromosomes release genetic codes which are then carried by RNA in this case massager RNA to another unit of the cellular structure called ribosome transcription of the genetic code takes place. After transcription, the ribosomes synthesize new proteins and this summarizes how DNA and RNA function together in the cells of living organisms.
Each stand of DNA consists of two bases which are complementary to one another and they lock together during transcription. The exact genetic sequence in the DNA molecules is what regulates and controls the functioning of all body cells. The genes act as individual instructions which ode the production of new proteins in the body cells. However, the various steps of instructions and information required to synthesize proteins takes place inside the nucleus while the process of synthesizing proteins occurs outside the nucleus inside the cytoplasm. It is for this precise reason that DNA and RNA function simultaneously to relay the genetic information from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. When cells require new proteins, the RNA polymerase enzyme sends a chemical message to the nucleus which switches specific genes on to initiate the genetic transcription process.
The most important and significant role of Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid (DNA) is the long term storage of genetic information as it contains the information necessary to build other components of body cells. The units of DNA that carry genetic information are the genes but there are other DNA segments which have different structural functions including the regulation of the functioning of the genetic information. On the other hand, the outstanding role of Ribose Nucleic Acid (RNA) is the conversion of genetic information into amino acids which constitute specific protein structures. There are three different types of RNAs common to all living cells. Messenger mRNA has a significant role of conveying genetic information from the nucleus into the cytoplasm for initiation of protein synthesis. Ribosomal rRNA is a constituent of the ribosomes and it functions in catalyzing peptide bond formation during the transcription process. Transfer tRNA on the other hand transfers amino acid molecules for protein synthesis and decodes mRNA. Other types of RNA do exist but may differ from organism to organism.