This animation shows how RNA molecules can form different structures, including ones that look and act like proteins.
Unlike DNA, RNA is a single-stranded molecule. As a result, RNA can fold upon itself and form complex structures, like the transfer RNA (tRNA) shown in the animation. Some RNA structures resemble proteins in both appearance and functionality, and can even act as biological catalysts.
Depending on students’ background, it may be helpful to pause the animation at various points to discuss different parts of the RNA structures.
catalyst, conformation, enzyme, nucleic acid, ribozyme, RNA world