AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between DNA polymerase and RNA polymerase?

Posted October 18, 2021

Basis for comparisonDNA polymeraseRNA polymerase
FunctionDNA ReplicationTranscription
Phase during which it governs the catalytic reactionUsed in the replication process during the S1 phase of a cell cycleUsed in the transcription process during the G1 and G2 phases of the growth phase
Resulting productSynthesizes double-stranded DNASynthesizes single-stranded RNA
Extent of synthesisSynthesizes the entire chromosomeStops the synthesis at the transcription termination site
Primer requirementRequired to initiate replicationNot required to initiate transcription
ActivityPolymerization and proof-reading activityOnly polymerization activity
Error rateLow error rate because of proof-reading activityVery high error rate because of no proof-reading activity
Rate of polymerizationFaster rate, approximately 1000 nucleotides per secondSlower rate, approximately 40 to 80 nucleotides per second
Additional enzyme requirementHelicase and topoisomeraseHoloenzyme
Base pairs used to synthesize productAdenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and ThymineAdenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and Uracil
Additional resources