A nucleic acid, found mostly in the cytoplasm of cells, that is important in the synthesis of proteins.
The amount of RNA varies from cell to cell. RNA, like the structurally similar DNA, is a chain made up
of subunits called nucleotides. In protein synthesis, messenger RNA (mRNA) replicates the DNA code for
a protein and moves to sites in the cell called ribosomes. There, transfer RNA (tRNA) assembles amino
acids to form the protein specified by the messenger RNA. Most forms of RNA (including messenger and
transfer RNA) consist of a single nucleotide strand, but a few forms of viral RNA that function as carriers
of genetic information (instead of DNA) are double-stranded.
A nucleic acid associated with the control
of chemical activities inside a cell. One type of RNA transfers information from the cell's DNA to the
protein-forming system of a cell outside the nucleus. Some viruses (eg, HIV) carry RNA instead of the
more usual genetic material DNA. See also Cytoplasm; DNA; Retrovirus.
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA):SFAF
a single-stranded nucleic acid that encodes
genetic information. RNA is made up of sequence of 4 chemical building
blocks (nucleotides) -- adenine, cytosine, guanine and uracil. RNA is
involved in the transcription of genetic information; the information
encoded in DNA is translated into messenger RNA (mRNA), which controls
the synthesis of new proteins. RNA takes the place of DNA in retroviruses
such as HIV. The presence of HIV RNA in the plasma indicates that the
virus is actively replicating.
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