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What is RNA?

Who are we?

RNA/ARN Canada (aka The Canadian Consortium of RNA Researchers, C2R2) is a network of scientists at universities and companies across Canada. We share an appreciation for the amazing variety of RNA types and functions, and are working together to harness the power of RNA biology for improving the lives of Canadians via therapeutic, diagnostic, and agricultural technologies. We also train the next generation of RNA researchers to build a brighter future.

You’ve probably heard about DNA, and how it is the blueprint or instructions to build cells, tissues…all of us! That’s right!


What is RNA??

Well, RNA is DNA’s much more interesting cousin, and it comes in many sizes and forms that play different roles in all our cells. For example, some RNAs, called messenger RNAs (mRNAs), are used as the code to build proteins, which, as it turns out are the key building blocks of much of our bodies (Hair? Protein. Muscles? Protein. Skin? You guessed it: Protein!).

Other types of RNAs do lots of different jobs in the cell. Some help in the process of making proteins (ribosomal and transfer RNAs; rRNA and tRNA). Other RNAs help to correctly package the mRNAs in a process called splicing. Yet other RNAs (really small ones called microRNAs) can turn mRNAs on or off-they’re kind of control freaks that way.

In the end, our cells would not function without this alphabet soup of RNA molecules. Scientists across Canada are trying to understand all the different jobs RNA can do to harness the power of RNA for treating and identifying diseases, making new vaccines to prevent diseases like cancer, protecting crops and livestock against pests, and improving laboratory technologies so scientists can improve their research. Once scientists understand how different RNAs work, we can put them to work for us!

Who are you?

Would you like to learn more about RNA/ARN Canada? Click on the link below that best describes who you are to find out!