Meaning of RNA (ribonucleic Acid)

What is RNA (ribonucleic acid):

RNA is the acronym for ribonucleic acid. It is a nucleic acid that is responsible for transferring genetic information from DNA in order to synthesize proteins according to the indicated functions and characteristics.

RNA is present in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Likewise, RNA is composed of a single chain that can sometimes be duplicated.

It is made up of linked nucleotides that form chains. Each nucleotide is made up of: a sugar (ribose), a phosphate group and 4 nitrogenous bases (adenine, guanine, uracil and cytosine).

RNA carries the genetic information of DNA for the synthesis of necessary proteins. That is, the RNA copies the information of each gene from the DNA and then passes to the cytoplasm, where it joins the ribosome to direct protein synthesis.

RNA begins to be studied in 1868 by Friedrich Miescher, who was also the first person to investigate DNA and promote the study of nucleic acids.

The international abbreviation is RNA for its acronym in English for ribonucleic acid.

RNA types

In reference to the above, the interaction of various types of RNA in genetic expression can be distinguished, among which we have:

  • messenger RNA (mRNA): known as coding RNA, it has the genetic code that determines the amino acid scheme to form a protein;
  • RNA transfer (tRNA): is responsible for carrying the amino acids to the ribosomes in order to incorporate them into the protein synthesis process, likewise, it is responsible for encoding the information that the messenger RNA has to a protein sequence and, finally,
  • ribosomal RNA (rRNA): is part of the ribosomes and acts in the enzymatic activity, it is responsible for creating the peptide bonds between the amino acids of the polypeptide in the process of protein synthesis.
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It is also worth mentioning the ribozymewhich is a type of RNA with a catalytic function capable of self-replication in the absence of proteins.

This characteristic is of great importance, since it has to do with the hypothesis that RNA was one of the first forms of life, prior to DNA, and that it made it possible for the first cell to form, since it contains stored genetic information and can self-duplicate


Between ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) there are differences in their structure and function.

RNA groups its nucleotides in a single helix, while DNA groups them in a double helix. The nucleotides that make up RNA are made up of ribose, a phosphate group, and four nitrogenous bases: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil.

The nucleotides that make up DNA, on the other hand, are made up of deoxyribose, a phosphate group and four nitrogenous bases: adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine, and are always found in the nucleus.

In reference to its functions, DNA selects, stores and saves the genetic code, in turn, RNA transmits the genetic code stored by DNA, that is, it performs a messenger function.

See also DNA and RNA.