Ribonucleic acid, or RNA, is a nucleic acid polymer consisting of nucleotide monomers, which plays several important roles in the processes of transcribing genetic information from deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) into proteins. RNA acts as a messenger between DNA and the protein synthesis complexes known as ribosomes, forms vital portions of ribosomes, and serves as an essential carrier molecule for amino acids to be used in protein synthesis.
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms. The main role of DNA molecules is the long-term storage of information and DNA is often compared to a set of blueprints, since it contains the instructions needed to construct other components of cells, such as proteins and RNA molecules. The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in regulating the use of this genetic information.
DNA is made of four types of bases named cytosine, thymine, guanine and adenine, which are linked together to form a chain. The bases are attached to each other in this chain by a sugar-phosphate backbone. Two of these chains then coil around each other, forming the DNA double helix. The sequence in which the bases are joined together into genetic information, determines the nature and function of each gene, which is assembled into “exons”.