DNA Replication vs Transcription- Definition, 23 Differences

DNA replication and transcription are fundamental genetic processes that are essential for cell growth and division. 

Differences between DNA Replication and Transcription

Both DNA replication and transcription processes involve the generation of a new molecule of nucleic acids, either DNA or RNA; however, the function of each process is very different, with one involved in gene expression and the other involved in cell division.

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Differences between DNA Replication and Transcription:

S.N.CharacterDNA ReplicationTranscription
1.      DefinitionDNA replication is the process of making new copies of DNA.Transcription is the process by which DNA is copied (transcribed) to RNA.
2.      SignificanceDNA replication is important for properly regulating the growth and division of cells. Transcription of DNA is the method for regulating gene expression. 
3.      Transfer of Genetic InformationFrom DNA to DNAFrom DNA to RNA
4.      Occurs during S phase of cell cycle.Occurs in the G1 and G2 phases of cell cycle.
5.      MotiveOccurs in preparation for cell division.Occurs in preparation for protein translation.
6.      Involved inCell divisionGene expression
7.      Raw MaterialsdATP, dGTP, dTTP and dCTP serve as raw materials.ATP, UTP, GTP and CTP serve as raw materials.
8.      TemplateBoth DNA strandsSingle DNA strand
9.      PrimersRequires RNA primer to start replication.No primer is required for initiation.
10.   Enzymes RequiredDNA Helicase, DNA PolymeraseTranscriptase (type of DNA Helicase), RNA polymerase
11.   Unwinding and SplittingIt involves unwinding and splitting of the entire DNA molecule.It involves unwinding and splitting of only those genes which are to be transcribed.
12.   Base pairingAdenine pairs with thymine.Adenine pairs with uracil instead of thymine.
13.   Copying of TemplateThe entire template strand is copied.Only the portion of the template DNA that codes for required genes is transcribed, or copied.
14.   ProductTwo daughter DNAmRNA, tRNA, rRNA and non-coding RNA( like microRNA)
15.   Strands in productDouble stranded DNASingle stranded RNA
16.   Post-formationJoining of Okazaki fragmentsRNA editing
17.   ProcessingIt produces normal DNA molecules that do not need any processing.It produces primary RNA transcript molecule which needs processing to acquire final form and size.
18.   BondReplicated DNA strand remains hydrogen bonded to its template DNA strand.Transcribed RNA strand separates from its DNA template strand.
19.   Migration from the site of formationProducts remain within nucleus.Greater part of the product passes from nucleus into the cytoplasm.
20.   Degradation of Product formedProducts are not degraded.Products are degraded after their function is over.
21.   Rate of ProductionThe rate of replication is typically 20 times faster than transcription and six or more replication forks may be present at the same time on the chromosome.Comparatively slower.
22.   Process followed byTranscription/ Next replicationTranslation. Although some RNA are the final product themselves.
23.   SignificanceConserve the entire genome for next generation.Necessary for protein synthesis.


  1. https://microbiologyinfo.com/difference-replication-transcription/
  2. http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/20630/InTechRelations_between_replication_and_transcription.pdf
  3. https://sciencing.com/difference-between-transcription-dna-replication-9038.html
  4. https://www.majordifferences.com/2013/10/difference-replication-vs-and.html
  5. https://www.atdbio.com/content/14/Transcription-Translation-and-Replication
  6. https://biodifferences.com/difference-between-replication-and-transcription.html

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Sagar Aryal

Sagar Aryal is a microbiologist and a scientific blogger. He is doing his Ph.D. at the Central Department of Microbiology, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He was awarded the DAAD Research Grant to conduct part of his Ph.D. research work for two years (2019-2021) at Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Saarbrucken, Germany. Sagar is interested in research on actinobacteria, myxobacteria, and natural products. He is the Research Head of the Department of Natural Products, Kathmandu Research Institute for Biological Sciences (KRIBS), Lalitpur, Nepal. Sagar has more than ten years of experience in blogging, content writing, and SEO. Sagar was awarded the SfAM Communications Award 2015: Professional Communicator Category from the Society for Applied Microbiology (Now: Applied Microbiology International), Cambridge, United Kingdom (UK). Sagar is also the ASM Young Ambassador to Nepal for the American Society for Microbiology since 2023 onwards.

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