What is RNA?

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is the basis of all living matter. In order for protein to be synthesized, accurate instructions from DNA need to be carried effectively from point A to point B; this is the process that ribonucleic acid facilitates. On occasion, RNA might serve as the messenger for genetic information in the place of DNA for certain varieties of viruses.

By definition, ribonucleic acid is a polymeric molecule. Polymeric molecules can be made up by either just one or multiple nucleotides that form a chain. Along with DNA and proteins, it is one of the three major macromolecules that compose all known organic matter.


The chain of genetic information that flows throughout organic matter starting DNA, flows through RNA, and then finally culminates in protein. At the end of every chain is a nucelotide that is made up of three essential parts

  • Phosphate
  • Ribose sugar
  • Base

A base can be one of five different variations:

  • Uracil (U)
  • Guanine (G)
  • Cytosine (C)
  • Adenine (A)

With the exception of a slight difference in the composition of their base and ribose sugar composition, every RNA nucleotide can be vaguely compared to that of a DNA nucleotide. The function that ribonucleic acid plays in the body, however, differs greatly from that of DNA.


Through the action of ribonucleic acid, there can be a central nexus for all of the molecular functionality that needs to be facilitated for organic matter to sustain itself. Messenger RNA (mRNA), a copy of a DNA chain, is scanned by ribosomes. Ribosomes scanning mRNA facilitates the creation of protein chains that are necessary for muscular repair, metabolic action and anabolism.

Unlike DNA, ribonucleic acid is most commonly found in a single-strand formation rather than a double-strand formation. Because of the fact that ribonucleic acid is found in a single-strand formation, it is possible for it to be formed into a wide range of flexible structures. The folding action of ribonucleic acid is theorized to be made possible through interactions between bases along different single-stranded chains.

If DNA could be described as the “concept” draft, and protein can be described as the “builder,” the ribonucleic acid in the middle could be described as the photocopy of the concept into a workable model that protein can use to begin working. Ribonucleic acid copies are produced en-masse whenever a cell needs to create a certain protein and does so by coding for its DNA.


When described for its role as as one of the core structural components of ribosomes, ribonucleic acid can be described as rRNA. When ribonucleic acid is serving a role as the mediator between protein and protein building blocks, the proper term to use is tRNA.

Through ribonucleic acid’s contributions, chemical reactions can be greatly accelerated overall thanks to enzyme action. Cellular division, growth, death and differentiation are made possible thanks to ribonucleic acid’s ability to efficiently regulate cell processes effectively. If ribonucleic acid isn’t functioning properly, none of the right processes for vital organs to stay operational would be possible.

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