DNA and RNA are nucleic acids and make up the genetic instructions of an organism. Their monomers are called nucleotides, which are made up of individual subunits. Nucleotides consist of a 5-Carbon sugar (a pentose), a charged phosphate and a nitrogenous base (Adenine, Guanine, Thymine, Cytosine or Uracil). Each carbon of the pentose has a position designation from 1 through 5. One major difference between DNA and RNA is that DNA contains deoxyribose, and RNA contains ribose. The discriminating feature between these pentoses is at the 2′ position where a hydroxyl group in ribose is substituted with a hydrogen.
The following video illustrates the structure and properties of DNA
DNA is a double helical molecule. Two anti-parallel strands are bound together by hydrogen bonds. Adenine forms 2 H-bonds with Thymine. Guanine forms 3 H-bonds with Cytosine. This AT & GC matching is referred to as complementarity. While the nitrogenous bases are found on the interior of the double helix (like rungs on a ladder), the repeating backbone of pentose sugar and phosphate form the backbone of the molecule. Notice that phosphate has a negative charge. This makes DNA and RNA, overall negatively charged.