Captioning is on. To turn off, click the CC button at bottom right. Follow the amoebas on Twitter (@amoebasisters) and Facebook! Sometimes it feels like DNA gets all the credit.
Yes. DNA is very important; it codes for your traits. However, sometimes what gets left
out is how important RNA is. Without RNA, you actually couldn’t get that genetic message
out to your cells so that they can start producing proteins. RNA is a very important biomolecule
– just as important as DNA. What we’re going to do right now is compare and contrast
RNA with DNA. This is really important to understand because if you don’t understand
it, you can’t understand protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is the process that gets
your DNA to code for the proteins that make up so many of your traits. Let’s talk about
DNA and RNA. They both sound kind of similar and actually they are both nucleic acids, which are a type of biomolecule. Let’s go ahead and compare and contrast them real quickly.
So DNA stands for deoxyribose nucleic acid. The “deoxyribose” is a sugar, and “nucleic
acid” is the type of biomolecule it is. DNA is also double-stranded, which means it
has two strands, and it’s in a double helix shape, also known as a twisted ladder. We
also have mentioned the bases in DNA. Remember the bases are really important because they
actually code for your traits. So the bases are adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine.
It helps to remember the little mneumonic device: apples in the tree (that helps you
remember that A goes with T) and car in the garage (so C goes with G). Also, DNA is found
in the nucleus. Those are all things about DNA.
RNA, on the other hand, stands for ribonucleic acid. The “ribo” is actually part of ribose,
which is a sugar. Just like DNA has “deoxyribose,” RNA has “ribose.” They both contain a
sugar. RNA also has four bases. Remember in the DNA, they were A and T, C and G. Well
in RNA, you have all the same bases except for one: there is no T, otherwise known as
thymine. There is no T in RNA. Instead, it’s a U. The U is for uracil. So you can’t remember
“Apples in the Tree” for RNA; it’s not going to work because there is no T. Instead,
try remembering “Apples Under” so it’s kind of like the apples are under a tree.
A for adenine, and U for uracil; they go together. Also, there’s still C and G; remember, cars
in the garage. That helps you remember cytosine goes with guanine. So the bases are pretty
similar for RNA except for the uracil instead of thymine. RNA also will start out in the
nucleus, but it’s going to travel out of the nucleus. It’s going to help deliver
the message. There are actually three types of RNA. Don’t worry; what they stand for
really gives away what they do. Let me give you an example. The first type of RNA is messenger
RNA, and the abbreviation is mRNA for messenger RNA. mRNA’s job is to carry a message based
off of the DNA. Second type of RNA is called the transfer RNA or abbreviated tRNA. Its
job is to transfer the message. Then we have rRNA and that stands for ribosomal RNA. Kind
of like it sounds, it actually is a component of the ribosome. If you remember back in cells,
we talked about how ribosomes make protein. It’s very important in protein synthesis.
Obviously, ribosomes are going to be involved because that’s what we’re doing – we’re
making protein. Now that you know the difference between RNA and DNA, you’re completely ready
to explore the concept of protein synthesis. We have another clip on that fascinating process.
That’s it for the Amoeba Sisters, and we remind you to stay curious!