DNA Polymerase vs RNA Polymerase

Last Updated on March 19, 2022 by QCity Editorial Stuff

The two polymerases DNA and RNA polymerases have strikingly different properties. While DNA polymerase can synthesize a new DNA strand from a preexisting one, RNA polymerase can only transcribe an RNA strand into a DNA molecule. This fundamental difference underlies the different roles these enzymes play in vivo. In this article, we will explore these differences in more detail and discuss their implications.

Polymerases are enzymes that help to create DNA and RNA molecules from nucleotide monomers. There are two main types of polymerases: DNA Polymerase and RNA Polymerase. DNA polymerases synthesize the double helix structure of a DNA molecule by reading a template strand in a 5′–>3′ direction, whereas RNA polymerases read the template strand in 3′–>5′. Differences between DNA Polymerase and Rna Polymerase include their function, as well as how they work on different templates during synthesis.

Comparison between DNA Polymerase and RNA Polymerase

Parameters of ComparisonDNA PolymeraseRna Polymerase
FoundDNA Polymerase is found in the cell nucleus andRna polymerase is found in the cytoplasm
EnzymeDNA polymerase is a type of enzyme that copies the genetic code from one strand to anotherRna polymerase is a type of enzyme that copies the genetic code from one strand to another
TemplateDNA polymerase uses DNA as its templateRna polymerase uses RNA as its template
Chemical reactionSame chemical reactionSame chemical reaction

What is DNA Polymerase?

DNA polymerase is a protein enzyme that helps to create new DNA strands by reading the nucleotide sequence of a template strand and then synthesizing the complementary strand. This process is essential for replication and repairing damaged DNA. There are several different types of DNA polymerases, each with its unique properties. In this article, we will explore the role of DNA polymerase in replication and gene expression. We will also discuss some of the most common mutations associated with this enzyme.

DNA Polymerase is an enzyme that is found in all living organisms. It is responsible for the replication of DNA and plays a vital role in the cell’s ability to reproduce. Without DNA Polymerase, life as we know it would not be possible. This fascinating molecule is responsible for the genetic information that makes us who we are, and scientists are still learning more about its complex workings every day.

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What is RNA Polymerase?

Rna polymerase is a type of enzyme that synthesizes the RNA molecule. It forms the first step in gene expression, which is converting genetic information into messenger RNA (mRNA). Rna polymerase helps transcribe DNA to mRNA by binding to the DNA strand and forming an RNA copy. This process of transcription occurs during both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell reproduction. 

The enzyme has many sub-types, each with different specific functions. One subtype of RNA polymerase encodes mitochondrial genes, which are passed down from mother to child without recombination or mutation due to their maternal inheritance pattern. This is because mitochondria are inherited through egg cells only, whereas nuclear DNA comes from both parents.

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10 Differences Between DNA Polymerase and RNA Polymerase

1. DNA polymerase is found in the nucleus of cells while RNA polymerase is found in the cytoplasm.

2. DNA polymerase uses deoxyribonucleotides to synthesize a new strand of DNA whereas RNA polymerases use ribonucleotide triphosphates.

3. The 3′ end of an mRNA molecule has a cap, which protects it from degradation by nucleases, whereas there are no caps on either end of a newly synthesized strand of DNA.

4. In transcription, both strands have 5′ to 3′ orientation but in replication one strand has 5′ to 3′. 

5. The enzyme helicase unwinds the double helix when replicating DNA and during transcription, this does not occur since it would destroy the integrity of mRNA molecules.

6. During replication, duplexes are separated at their crossover points or “junction regions” where they exchange segments before rejoining into two identical duplexes; however, during transcription duplexes remain intact because mRNA transcripts do not need to be copied back into another form for further processing.

7. DNA Polymerase is a protein and RNA polymerase is an enzyme.

8. The 3′ end of the growing strand of DNA is always on the 5′ end of the template strand.

9. After each nucleotide addition, DNA moves to one side while RNA remains in place. 

10. For replication to occur, there has to be a free 3′ hydroxyl group at the end of each sugar-phosphate backbone chain or polyribonucleotide molecule.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of DNA Polymerase

1. DNA polymerase is the enzyme that copies the genetic information to create new DNA.

2. It’s a type of protein found in cells and it catalyzes the synthesis of DNA from RNA, using nucleotides as substrates.

3. The process can be reversed if there are errors during replication or transcription.

4. It also performs proofreading functions to ensure faithful copying of sequences.

5. If there are mutations, then they won’t be copied into the newly synthesized strand. 

6. There are 3 different types – A, B, and C – but only type A is present in humans.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of RNA Polymerase

1. Rna polymerase is a type of enzyme that helps create new RNA.

2. It is the most important enzyme in the process called transcription.

3. RNA polymerases can be found in all living cells, and they are also present in viruses.

4. The first step of transcription is called initiation – this means that an mRNA molecule must attach to a promoter sequence on DNA.

5. There are three types of RNA polymerase enzymes – T7, SP6, and T3; each one has its function and location within the cell.

6. When there’s no more space for proteins on ribosomes, it will release them into the cytoplasm where they eventually get degraded by proteolysis or recycled back into ribosomes for use again.


It is important to understand the differences between DNA polymerase and RNA polymerase. These enzymes are not interchangeable, but they do work together in many ways to create life as we know it. Some of these roles include replication, gene expression regulation, transcriptional proofreading (proofreading), and translation into proteins. The cell types that have both DNA polymerases and RNA polymerases are white blood cells or lymphocytes which can be found within our immune system. If you’re interested in learning more about how these two very different enzymes play a role in health care today, let us know.


Resource 01: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/dna-polymerase
Resource 02: https://www.technologynetworks.com/genomics/articles/rna-polymerase-function-and-definition-346823

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