Advertisement

What is RNA (ribonucleic acid)?

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a polymer that is present in every cell in every living thing on earth. Along with DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and proteins, RNA is essential to all forms of life. RNA carries out many important functions within a cell including the following.
  • RNA transmits genetic information from DNA cells to proteins produced by the cell.
  • RNA regulates cell division, cell differentiation and growth.
  • RNA regulates cell aging and death.
  • RNA regulates when and how much protein is made in a cell.
  • RNA can act as enzymes to speed chemical reactions.
Diseases including heart disease, stroke and some cancers may involve defects in RNA. Because RNA is central to all biological processes, some scientists are studying RNA to look for new therapies for treating human disease.

Continue Learning about Genetic Disorders and Birth Defects

Can You Overcome Your Genetic Disposition?
Can You Overcome Your Genetic Disposition?
Actress Angelina Jolie announced in a 2013 New York Times editorial that she had both breasts removed. The reason: a heightened risk of breast cancer ...
Read More
Can cystic fibrosis (CF) be cured?
Jumo HealthJumo Health
Cystic fibrosis (CF) cannot be cured, but there are many treatments that can make living with it eas...
More Answers
What does it mean when someone with cystic fibrosis (CF) has EPI?
Jumo HealthJumo Health
When people with cystic fibrosis (CF) have EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency) it means that enz...
More Answers
When Should I Get Genetic Counseling for Genetic Disorders?
When Should I Get Genetic Counseling for Genetic Disorders?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.