More than just DNA’s lesser-known cousin, RNA plays a central role in turning genetic information into your body’s proteins. This remarkable molecule also carries the genetic instructions for many viruses, and it may have helped life get its start.

‘Central Dogma’

Together, RNA, short for ribonucleic acid, and DNA, short for deoxyribonucleic acid, make up the nucleic acids, one of the three or four classes of major “macromolecules” considered crucial for life. (The others are proteins and lipids. Many scientists also place carbohydrates in this group.) Macromolecules are very large molecules, often consisting of repeating subunits. RNA and DNA are made up of subunits called nucleotides.  



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