Difference Between DNA Polymerase and RNA Polymerase - Ask Any Difference

Difference Between DNA Polymerase and RNA Polymerase

The polymerization process is important for all organisms. It takes place in two different versions. One is DNA polymerase which is important for the replication process in DNA. And the other one is RNA polymerase is which is important for the transcription process. Without these two, it will be difficult to pass the gene from one generation to another generation. 

DNA Polymerase vs RNA Polymerase

The main difference between DNA Polymerase and RNA Polymerase is that when a double-stranded DNA molecule is produced during polymerization, then it is called DNA Polymerase. When a single-stranded molecule is produced during transcription, then it is called RNA Polymerase. DNA polymerase needs a primer for replication. Whereas RNA polymerase does not need a primer for transcription. 

DNA Polymerase and RNA Polymerase

DNA polymerase is an enzyme that will create DNA polymerase by creating nucleotides. Nucleotides are the building blocks of DNA. While DNA replication, these enzymes are essential, and they work in pairs for creating two DNA strands. The strands are created from the original DNA molecule. The first three types of DNA polymerase are used in proofreading. 

RNA Polymerase is a group of enzymes that uses either DNA or RNA as a template for synthesizing. For accomplishing their task, they interact with many types of proteins. RNAP 4 and 5 are found in plants. It has helicase activity which means no separate enzyme is needed for unwinding DNA. RNA polymerase has been found in many viruses as well. 

Comparison Table Between DNA Polymerase and RNA Polymerase

Parameters of ComparisonDNA PolymeraseRNA Polymerase
NucleotidesIt uses DNA nucleotides for new strand synthesization.It uses RNA nucleotides for new strand synthesization.
New strandIt will not be able to initiate a new strand.It can initiate a new strand.
UseIt is used for DNA replication.It is used for transcription.
SynthesizationIt uses a double-stranded molecule.It uses a single-stranded molecule.
PrimerIt uses primer for the initiation of replication.It does not use primer for the initiation of replication.

What is DNA Polymerase?

It is a group of enzymes that are used for catalyzing the synthesis of DNA during replication. This process is very important for transferring genetic information from one generation to another. They always work in pairs by replacing two strands of DNA in tandem. DNA polymerase has been divided into 5 types. DNA polymerase has two main functions.

It catalyzes the synthesis of DNA. It also helps in proofreading. It is an essential component used in PCR. The key role in that is used for creating synthesized DNA strands. But understanding the character of this enzyme and the development of advanced DNA polymerases are extremely critical. The DNA polymerases are found in eukaryotic cells. Without the help of DNA polymerase, the existing organisms cannot be able to replace and reproduced themselves.

This is because all organisms’ life is dependent on the information that is stored in DNA. Without DNA replication, information would not be able to pass on, and life will cease to exist. The three main roles in DNA polymerase are polymerization, proofreading, and repair. The human genome encodes 14 DNA polymerases, and this is a large number. If DNA polymerase stop working, then it will start to match with the wrong RNA polymerase, which will lead to many complications. 

What is RNA Polymerase?

It is a multi-unit enzyme. It uses a process called transcription for synthesizing RNA molecules from a DNA template. This type of polymerase has been found in all types of species. But the number and the composition of proteins in them will vary. For unwinding DNA, it binds into a gene region called a promoter. This will send the signal to DNA. This will help the enzyme to read the bases on any one of the DNA strands.

RNA Polymerase has been divided into 3 types. RNA polymerase comes from the nucleolus. It is a specialized nuclear structure where ribosomal RNA will be transcribed, assembled, and processed into ribosomes. It acts as a catalyst for proofreading and transcription. In prokaryotic transcription, they will use the same RNA polymerase for transcribing all the genes. The polymerase is comprised of five sub-units called a holoenzyme.

The best part about RNA polymerase is it does not need a primer. It has no proofreading activity as it increases the mutation rate. The enzyme makes some mistakes. In the newly synthesized DNA, the mutations will remain the same. Bacteria contain a single RNA polymerase type, whereas eukaryotic cells contain multiple RNA polymerase types. It belongs to the class of enzymes called nucleotidyltransferase. It produces chemical reactions while synthesizing RNA. 

Main Differences Between DNA Polymerase and RNA Polymerase

  1. DNA polymerase has a very low error rate. On the other hand, RNA polymerase has a comparatively high error rate.
  2. DNA polymerase is used for synthesizing the entire chromosome. On the other hand, RNA polymerase will stop the synthesization.
  3. DNA polymerase cannot initiate a new strand. On the other hand, RNA polymerase is capable of initiating a new strand.
  4. DNA polymerase uses a primer for beginning the new process. On the other hand, RNA polymerase does not require a primer to begin the process.
  5. DNA polymerase possesses exonuclease activity. On the other hand, RNA polymerase lacks exonuclease activity. 
  6. DNA polymerase uses a double-stranded molecule for the replication process. On the other hand, RNA polymerase uses single-stranded molecules for the transcription process.


Both these are important for transferring the genes from one generation to another generation. If DNA polymerase does not work in a specific organism, then it will mix it up with RNA polymerase, which will increase the complication further to that organism. Studying DNA is very important so that we will get to know how we got our qualities.

Our qualities and talents are passed from generation to generation. This is a topic that will be taught in biology. A basic idea of this will be taught in the school curriculum. But for doing some particular research, you need to take a stream in biology during your college degree so that you can do more research on this topic and later publish a research paper on that. 


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