Difference Between DNA and mRNA (With Table)

Human anatomy is difficult to understand yet very interesting, humans have internal body parts and reactions which influence their daily life activity. All these reactions are very complex and cannot be seen from outside.

Eating habits,sleep pattern, bowel cycle, thinking, etc. are somewhere results of chemical reactions happening inside the body. There are different components in the body in which these chemical reactions are done in order to make the body work properly.

The smallest unit of the body is the cell, this smallest unit is present in a large quantity and thus plays an important role in the human body. Within these cells there are a lot of components present which further helps to maintain the structure.

One of the most important functions of cells is the inheritance of genetic material. The genetic material is responsible for the traits that are being carried onto the offspring, resemblance offsprings with parents is the result of these genetic material.

Genes are predominantly responsible for genetic material. Genes have DNA and an RNA which contains characteristics of one human being which are further transferred to offspring through reproduction.


The main difference between DNA and mRNA is their composition. DNA and mRNA both carry genetic material but still have differences in their composition and location in the body and so on.


Comparison Table Between DNA and mRNA

Parameters of Comparison



Sugar component

Deoxyribose sugar

Ribose sugar

Pyrimidine presence

Thymine as pyrimidine

Uracil is pyrimidine


Double stranded

Single stranded


Long life

Short life


Present in nucleus

Diffuses into cytoplasm


What is DNA?

DNA is an abbreviation of Deoxyribonucleic acid, it is a molecule composed of two polynucleotide chains that coil around each other to form a double helix, carrying around the genetic instructions.

There are three major forms of DNA, those are A form, B form, and Z form.these forms are double stranded and connected by interactions between complementary base pairs. There are around 3 billion DNA base pairs , which makes one genome.

Major functions of DNA are to encode the sequence of amino acids, mutations and recombination of genetic material, and to determine genetic characteristics.DNA is responsible for carrying the genetic material.

DNA is present in cells nucleus known as nuclear DNA.a small amount of DNA is also seen in the powerhouse of the cell which is mitochondria. They are present in eukaryotic cells, these are double stranded structures.

DNA is made up of three components, those are sugar molecules (deoxyribose), phosphoric acid and nitrogenous base.  There are four  nitrogenous bases which are further divided into purines (two ring structures- adenine and guanine) and pyrimidines (two single stranded structures- cytosine and thymine  .

There is a structure model present in DNA which proposes that the amount of purines and pyrimidines are equal to each other, and amount of adenine is equal to amount of thymine. 

Friedrich Miescher a swiss chemist founded DNA in 1860s,however some took names of James Watson an American biologist and Francis crick an english physicist, but later on Friedrich Miescher was approved as founder of DNA.


What is mRNA?

mRNA is an abbreviation of messenger ribonucleic acid, these are single stranded molecules of RNAthat corresponds to the genetic sequences of a gene and is read by ribosomes in the process of synthesizing a protein.

The composition of mRNA is somewhat similar to that of DNA but yet different as DNA is made up of deoxyribose whereas mRNA consists of ribose sugar molecules. mRNA are created during the process of transcription.

Transcription is the process of conversion of genes into primary transcript mRNA with help of enzymes. mRNA are single stranded, strands of nucleotides known as ribonucleic acids or RNA . RNA is of three types; mrRNA, tRNA, and rRNA.

Functions mRNA is to read base sequences of ribosomes,using the genetic code to translate each three base triplets or codon into its corresponding amino acid. It possesses all basic characteristic differences of RNA.

mRNA is present in prokaryotic cells and carries genetic information from chromosomal DNA to the cytoplasm for the synthesis of proteins. Lifespan of mRNA is very short. Among the four nitrogenous bases thymine is replaced by uracil.

RNA helps in synthesis of protein in the body, as after the process of synthesis the acid moves out from the nucleus into cytoplasm where it is deposited in ribosomes which further helps in making proteins.

Discovery of mRNA is done by  Sydney Brenner, Francis Crick, Francois Jacob, and Jacques Monod, with these discoveries it became clear that genes are useful to make proteins.

Main Differences Between DNA and mRNA

  1. DNA is present in eukaryotic cells whereas mRNA is present in prokaryotic cells.
  2. DNA is made up of deoxyribose sugar on contrary mRNA is made up of ribose sugar.
  3. DNA is double stranded whereas mRNA is single stranded.
  4. DNA has a long life on contrary mRNA has a short life.
  5. DNA is present in the nucleus while mRNA diffuses into cytoplasm.
  6. DNA has thymine as one of the pyrimidines whereas mRNA has uracil as it’s pyrimidine.



DNA and mRNA works in transferring genetic material.their work is somewhat similar but yet different from each other. DNA and mRNA are two different types of nucleic acids which are present in different locations in the human body.

Their composition is also different from each other,one contains genetic material and another one helps to  transfer the genetic material through reactions. mRNA is a type of RNA and DNA has three types, which mRNA is a smaller unit than DNA.

Both DNA and mRNA helps in synthesis of proteins. 


  1. https://www.jbc.org/content/270/14/8037.short
  2. https://www.pnas.org/content/102/42/15048.short