Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Genetic Coding
Name: Giselle
Status: Other
Grade:  Other
Location: FL
Country: United States
Date: October 2005

Would it be correct to say that genetic information is found in chromosomes, RNA, DNA and nucleic acids?

DNA and RNA are both nucleic acids so it is correct to say that nucleic acids carry genetic information. DNA is the primary repository of genetic information, but this information is transferred to messenger RNA which carries the information to the ribosomes where this information is used for protein synthesis. Chromosomes are comprised of DNA and histone proteins, so it is also correct to say that chromosomes also carry genetic information.

Ron Baker, Ph.D.

Yes, absolutely.

RNA and DNA are nucleic acids (the acronyms stand for ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA in a cell is organized into discrete structures called chromosomes. It is probably more accurate to say that genetic information is carried in the form of DNA, while RNA is involved in "reading" that information and carrying out the instructions contained there.

C. Perkins


I can't tell from your email your grade level, so this response is a bit difficult.

You would be correct in indicating that genetic material is encoded or present in each material/structure you mention. There is a substantial overlap in the terms you mention. You should be aware that chromosomes contain DNA which is itself composed of nucleotides containing dexoyribose sugar and is itself a nucleic acid. RNA can be one of many forms transcribed from the DNA genetic material. Some RNA's are translated (ex. mRNA) into proteins; tRNA is intimately involved in protein synthesis but is itself not translated. mRNA, having been transcribed from DNA contains genetic material, though as an edited version pointed at its ultimate target protein.

Thanks for using NEWTON!

Ric Rupnik

RNA and DNA ARE nucleic acids. Chromosomes are made of DNA. And yes, the genetic information is found in nucleic acids. Most of the DNA is found in the nucleus, but a small amount of DNA is found in the mitochondria, and the chloroplasts of plants.


Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory