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DNA is Deoxy Ribonucleic Acid and RNA is Ribo Nucleic Acid.. RNA is single stranded and DNA is a Double Helix..Both contain a sugar, phosphate groups and 4 different nitrogenous base pairs, 3 of which are the same for both RNA and DNA: guanine, adenine and cytosine. Thymine, the fourth base pair found in DNA, is replaced by uracil in RNA. Of the nitrogenous bases: adenine, and guanine are both purines, which are bicyclic, while cytosine, thyamine and uracil are pyrimidines, which are cyclic rather than bicyclic.
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DNA contains all of the genetic information necessary to construct cells, to integrate them into an organism and to maintain them. RNA translates this information into specific instructions for the assembly of proteins, transmits the information outside the cell nucleus and helps to assemble them. Each DNA molecule contains hundreds of millions of atoms in a specific and unique sequence. The DNA molecule is shaped like a ladder twisted into a spiral, like a telephone cord. The rungs of the ladder are molecules called nucleotides; the rail of the ladder consists of alternating molecules of sugar and phosphate. There are four nucleotides, each of which is half of a complementary base pair. Each nucleotide fits into its mate on the opposite rail like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When a cell reproduces a segment of the DNA ladder unzips. The base pairs separate and expose the nucleotides. Each exposed nucleotide attracts its complement from chemicals present in the cell nucleus. The result is two new ladders, each of which is identical to the original. At other times short sections of DNA unzip to expose a certain sequence of base pairs, called a gene. This is where RNA comes in. RNA is similar to DNA in some ways. Nucleotides in RNA are held together by sugars and phosphates. RNA differs from DNA in that each RNA molecule is only a single strand of nucleotides, and is much shorter. An RNA molecule is created by matching the sequence of exposed nucleotides on the unzipped DNA molecule. The RNA is an inverse copy of the gene, like a negative film image. Encoded in it is the information which will be decoded and translated to make the proteins which form the basis of life. Our physical being is an assemblage of thousands of proteins of various types.