Considering The Properties Of Dna And Rna Essay

Considering The Properties Of Dna And Rna Essay

Length: 1948 words (5.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Considering the properties of DNA and RNA, discuss the reasons why life is thought to have originated from an RNA world and not a DNA world
There is great debate as to the origin of modern day life, and its replicative and catalytic mechanisms. One of the main questions debated by scientists concerning the origin of life is whether life was first based on proteins or nucleic acids. As polynucleotides are able to form copies of their own sequences and polypeptides are not, many people believe nucleic acids are far more likely to have existed first. Both RNA and DNA are possible contenders as the basis of early life. So far, there are no remnants of pre-cellular life, making all theories as to what form this life may have taken purely theoretical (Klyce, 1998). In the modern world, biological information is stored by DNA and processed to form proteins via RNA. The RNA world theory suggests that early life may have been based on RNA as the sole informational and catalytic molecule (Allison, 2012). Any molecule forming the basis of life would need to be capable of storing information and replication without the aid of other molecules. There are various reasons why many people consider RNA to be a much more suitable candidate as the first informational molecule than DNA.
Structural differences between RNA and DNA
RNA differs from DNA in ways which suggest life is more likely to have originally been based on RNA. DNA consists of a backbone phosphate groups attached to a 5 carbon deoxyribose sugar. The backbone is attached to the bases cytosine, thymine, adenine and guanine. The basic structure of RNA is very similar to that of DNA, but with two key differences. In RNA, the base uracil replaces the thymine base found in DNA, and RNA co...

... middle of paper ...

...nds of temperatures are way above those required to degrade RNA. This problem could, again, be argued against by stating that there must have been some form of pre-RNA-based life which then evolved into the RNA world once the Earth had cooled (Slonczewski, 2014).
In conclusion, life is much more likely to have originated from an RNA world than a DNA world. If it is assumed that nucleic acids did come before proteins then the choice between RNA and DNA as the original basis of life is a relatively easy one. RNA is the only one capable of carrying the autocatalytic functions and information storage required for life which are now carried out by DNA and proteins. This is mainly down to its tendency to be single stranded, unlike DNA, and therefore its ability to fold into specific three-dimensional structures with catalytic properties (Allison, 2012).

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Dna, Rna, And Rna Essay

- In the article The Information in DNA Is Decoded by Transcript the reader is given a lesson on how the DNA, also known as deoxyribonucleic acid, process of replication works. A somewhat step by step of how DNA is decoded then transcribed in cells to help create proteins. To begin DNA is described as a molecule that stores in information that cells use to maintain their life. The information, also known as genes, are duplicated so that cells can use the information provided to create protein, as mentioned before....   [tags: DNA, RNA, Gene, Protein]

Better Essays
710 words (2 pages)

Rna Based Approaches For Hiv Rna And Rna Molecules With Catalytic Activity

- 1.4.2 RNA-based approaches Ribozymes Ribozymes are RNA molecules with catalytic activity and can be engineered to cleave HIV RNA molecules at specific sites.231 Ribozymes targeting the U5 region, pol ORF, tat ORF or a site in the overlapping tat/rev ORF were tested in phase I clinical trials, but no antiviral effects were observed following the transplantation of CD4+ T cell or HSPCs transduced with MLV vectors.232 A hammerhead ribozyme targeting a site in the overlapping vpr and tat ORFs of HIV RNA advanced to phase II trials.233,234 Autologous HSPCs were transduced with an MLV vector that expressed the ribozyme under control of the MLV LTR....   [tags: RNA, DNA, RNA interference, Gene]

Better Essays
846 words (2.4 pages)

The Chemistry And Function Of Protein And Rna Essay

- According to the Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from Mount Olympus and created mankind from clay while Athena breathed life into clay figures. Not only the Greek mothology but also some other religions also carry “creation of human from clay” story, which was believed how life was created. Today, scientist know that the difference between then non-living objects and living objects is not a result of magic power. Life is made possible by the interaction of organic molecules, which consist of four major classes such as carbonhyrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids....   [tags: RNA, DNA, Protein, Ribosome]

Better Essays
710 words (2 pages)

The Discovery Of The Rna World Essay

- Very little is known about the early life on earth but it has been broadly investigated in regards to what is known as the RNA world. The RNA world suggests that early life utilized ribonucleic acid (RNA) for both catalytic ability and also for genetic data (Higgs, Lehman, 2015). There has been little examination of whether protein synthesis emerged before DNA or what went before the RNA world (Dworkin, Lazcano, Miller, 2002). One of the most important questions humanity has ever asked is; where does life come from....   [tags: DNA, RNA, Gene, Life]

Better Essays
1071 words (3.1 pages)

The Molecular Structure Of A Protein And Ribonucleic Acid ( Rna ) Essay

- Genetic information is encoded in the molecular structure of nucleic acids in the form of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). Most organisms carry their genetic information in DNA, with the exception of some viruses, which use RNA. Within the cell, genetic information is transported within the chromosomes, which are comprised of DNA and associated proteins. Human cells possess 46 chromosomes, each of which carries a large number of genes. Through meiosis, pairing and separation of replicated chromosomes occurs during the division of sex cells to form gametes....   [tags: DNA, Gene, Genetics, RNA]

Better Essays
1393 words (4 pages)

Dna And Function Of Actinomycin D Essays

- Discussion: Our preliminary hypothesis was that the Chlamydomonas cells exposed to actinomycin D would show slow regeneration of the flagella compared to the control, or no regeneration of the flagella. This hypothesis was based on researching the structure and function of actinomycin D. structurally, actinomycin D is a cromopeptide, which consists of a phenoxazone ring and two cyclic pentapetides. The two cyclic pentapetides contain polar, uncharged amino acids such as threonine and proline and the phenoxazone ring contains N-H hydrogen bond and a free, nucleophilic oxygen (Hughes, 2009)....   [tags: DNA, Cell nucleus, Cell, Messenger RNA]

Better Essays
1354 words (3.9 pages)

Transcription Of Rna And Rna Essay

- Transcription is a process in which RNA is synthesised from a DNA template. Transcription occurs inside the nucleus of eukaryotic cells and is catalysed by the enzyme RNA polymerase. The enzyme catalyses the initiation and elongation of RNA chains and requires a DNA template, all four ribonucleoside triphosphates (ATP, GTP, CTP and UTP) and a divalent metal ion such as Mg2+ or Mn2+ (Burrell, H, 2014). Transcription is split into three stages; initiation, elongation and termination. During initiation of transcription RNA polymerase binds to the promoter and just 17 base pairs of DNA are unwound at any given time....   [tags: DNA, Bacteria, Protein, Gene]

Better Essays
1022 words (2.9 pages)

The Process Of Replication And Dna Essay

- The Process of Replication in a DNA Molecule Replication is the process of when a double-stranded DNA molecule is copied to produce two identical DNA molecules. DNA replication is one of the most basic processes that occurs within a cell. Each time a cell divides, the two resulting daughter cells must contain exactly the same DNA as the parent cell. To accomplish this, each strand of existing DNA acts as a template for replication. How is DNA replicated. DNA replication occurs in three major steps: 1....   [tags: DNA, Protein, RNA, Gene]

Better Essays
1373 words (3.9 pages)

Deterioration of RNA Study Essay

- The current status of the problem The chemical modification in triplex forming oligonucleotides affects the stability of RNA triplex. The incorporation of 2-omethayl-modify residues in a triplex forming oligonucleotides destabilizes and stabilizes triplex formation with RNA and DNA duplex regions (Patterson, Plaxco & Ricci, 2010). The deterioration of RNA triplex formation may be making easy through modulation of van der Waals contact, base stacking backbone pre-organization, geometric compatibility and dehydration energy (Patterson, Plaxco & Ricci, 2010)....   [tags: DNA, Molecules]

Better Essays
1097 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about Dna And The Structure And Function Of Dna

- Deoxyribonucleic acid or more commonly known as DNA can be utilized to identify criminals with unbelievable precision when biological evidence exists. Not only this but, DNA can be utilized to prove suspects innocent and redeem mistakenly accused or those convicted of crimes can be let free. It is vital to understand the structure and function of DNA and how this relates to DNA investigation in forensic science. It is essential to understand the basics of deoxyribonucleic acid like the structure and function....   [tags: DNA, Gene, Genetics, RNA]

Better Essays
871 words (2.5 pages)