Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a polymer formed of four nucleotide monomers, including adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil.
Unlike DNA, RNA contains uracil nucleotides instead of thymine nucleotides.
As depicted above, each RNA nucleotide is composed of a phosphate group, a ribose sugar, and a base.
RNA molecules are usually single stranded, but they can form complex secondary structures where a region of one RNA molecule base pairs to another region of the same molecule.
Similar to proteins, some RNA molecules known as ribozymes can catalyze chemical reactions.
However, RNA molecules typically act as intermediaries between DNA and ribosomes. Ribosomes translate the nucleotide sequence in messenger RNAs (mRNAs) into a linear protein sequence.
Although RNA does not store the genetic information in a prokaryotic or eukaryotic organism\'s genome, RNA can be the genetic material for some viruses.