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Molecular Composition of RNA

RNA is a single-stranded polymer of ribonucleotides. RNA is composed of ribose sugar, a phosphate residue, and a purine or pyrimidine base:

Purines in RNA

adenine (A) and guanine (G)

These are the same as DNA purine bases

Pyrimidines in RNA

cytosine (C) and uracil (U)

Uracil is incorporated into RNA rather than thymine, which is one of the two pyrimidine bases that is incorporated into DNA.

RNA exists in three primary functional forms:

  • Messenger RNA (mRNA),

  • Ribosomal RNA (rRNA), and

  • Transfer RNA (tRNA).