AAT Bioquest

What is the relationship between DNA, RNA and proteins?

Posted January 8, 2021


DNA, RNA, and protein are all closely related. DNA contains the information necessary for encoding proteins, although it does not produce proteins directly. RNA carries the information from the DNA and transforms that information into proteins that perform most cellular functions.


DNA is a linear polymer that is made up of nucleotide units. It resembles a long chain where the links in the chain are composed of individual chemical units called nucleotides. DNA forms the genetic material of all living organisms. It is stored in organisms in a safe, stable form as a double helix, with two strands of DNA wrapped around each other. All cellular organisms use DNA to encode and store their genetic information. 


RNA resembles DNA in appearance and composition, except it contains ribose rather than deoxyribose sugars that make up DNA. The ribose sugar makes the RNA more flexible but it also makes it less durable. When a cell receives a signal saying that a certain protein is needed, the DNA double helix unwinds. One strand of the helix then becomes a template for producing the protein coding template. This template is called RNA. It uses the information stored in the DNA to enable cells to synthesize a particular protein.


A protein is made up of a long chain of amino acids linked together. There are twenty amino acids that are commonly found in proteins. Each amino acid has a similar, yet unique structure. Provides have a wide range of functions, from providing structure and facilitating movement to helping in digestion

Additional resources

DNA, RNA, and the Flow of Genetic Information


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