Reading the Instructions From DNA to RNA to Proteins

The four-letter alphabet of DNA is where an organism's instruction manual is stored, but when it comes time to actually make an organism, you need proteins. Proteins comprise most of the basic machinery that makes an organism work. Your muscles are made of proteins, your antibodies are proteins, your digestive enzymes are proteins — you just wouldn't be who you are without proteins.

To make proteins, you need RNA. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, is similar to DNA but has a couple of important differences:

¡^ RNA is usually a single-stranded molecule, whereas DNA is a double-stranded molecule.

¡^ Although both RNA and DNA are made of four nucleotides, RNA uses uracil instead of thymine. Specifically, RNA uses the nucleotides adenine, uracil, cytosine, and guanine, which are abbreviated A, U, C, and G.

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