Ribonucleic Acid Definition

RNA – the abbreviation for ribonucleic acid. RNA is a single-strand molecule consisting of ribose; a sugar; and nucleotides made up of the nitrogen bases adenine, uracil, guanine, and cytosine. RNA exists in a number of forms, all of which serve as biochemical messengers that carry the instructions of DNA to the ribosomes, structures in the cell’s cytoplasm.

Ribosomes synthesize (manufacture) the proteins the genes encode. RNA also may function as the carrier of genetic code within the mitochondria.

For further discussion of RNA within the context of the structures and functions of genetics, please see the overview section “Genetics and Molecular Medicine.”


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