Related topics: dna · genes · protein · gene expression · cells

New technology will show how RNA regulates gene activity

The discovery of a huge number of long non-protein coding RNAs, aka lncRNAs, in the mammalian genome was a major surprise of the recent large-scale genomics projects. An international team including a bioinformatician from ...

New method captures early viral-host protein interactions

More than 70% of all viruses known to cause human disease, including the one that causes COVID-19, are RNA viruses. They invade the body by hijacking the internal machinery of cells. Yet little is known about how viral RNA ...

Dual personalities visualized for shape-shifting molecule

Australian and US researchers have made a breakthrough in understanding the structure of a key genetic molecule, called RNA, and revealing for the first time how these changes impact RNA's function.

Making sense of the viral multiverse

In November of 2019—likely, even earlier—a tiny entity measuring just a few hundred billionths of a meter in diameter began to tear apart human society on a global scale. Within a few months, the relentless voyager known ...

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Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a biologically important type of molecule that consists of a long chain of nucleotide units. Each nucleotide consists of a nitrogenous base, a ribose sugar, and a phosphate. RNA is very similar to DNA, but differs in a few important structural details: in the cell, RNA is usually single-stranded, while DNA is usually double-stranded; RNA nucleotides contain ribose while DNA contains deoxyribose (a type of ribose that lacks one oxygen atom); and RNA has the base uracil rather than thymine that is present in DNA.

RNA is transcribed from DNA by enzymes called RNA polymerases and is generally further processed by other enzymes. RNA is central to the synthesis of proteins. Here, a type of RNA called messenger RNA carries information from DNA to structures called ribosomes. These ribosomes are made from proteins and ribosomal RNAs, which come together to form a molecular machine that can read messenger RNAs and translate the information they carry into proteins. There are many RNAs with other roles – in particular regulating which genes are expressed, but also as the genomes of most viruses.

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