What is it about RNA that won’t create a double strand?



Many, many years ago, I was taking a bio course in college, we were learning about DNA and RNA, and I noticed that RNA never creates a double strand, and was always curious. What is it that is chemically or otherwise different that prevents RNA from creating a double strand like its counterpart DNA? I asked the professor at the time, but never was given an answer other than IDK.

In: Biology

It absolutely will, given the chance.

This is the case in many viruses that have doublestranded RNA as their genome.


Additionally, it also sort of happens in humans. It’s not exactly a double-strand but complementary bases can cause the RNA to fold into non-linear shapes. This is integral for the function of certain RNAs, most notably tRNA, the things that match up the codons on mRNA with the associated aminoacid during translation:


So, the actual reason that we don’t have actual doublestrands in humans is very simple: Our cells simply only make one strand at a time as that suffices for what we need.

It has an extra oxygen atom so it cants bond to other strands. Hence DE-Oxy Ribo nucleic acid (DNA)