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What Are the Different Types of RNA Tests?

RNA tests are powerful tools in molecular biology, with types like mRNA assays for gene expression, tRNA tests for protein synthesis, and rRNA analysis for ribosomal function. Each test offers a unique window into the intricate world of cellular processes. Intrigued by how these tests unveil life's molecular mysteries? Dive deeper to explore the vivid imagery and insights of RNA testing.
Alexis Rohlin
Alexis Rohlin

The different types of ribonucleic acid (RNA) tests are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) RNA tests, Hepatitis C tests, and gene tests. HIV RNA tests are called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and they look for the RNA of the virus or the presence of HIV DNA in white blood cells. Hepatitis C RNA tests are qualitative RNA tests and quantitative RNA tests. Gene tests look at the RNA in genes taken from a blood sample to detect the presence or possibility of a disease or disorder.

HIV RNA tests often are used on newborn babies to detect HIV infection in infants whose mothers are HIV-positive. The virus's RNA is detected via a PCR, which analyzes short sequences of RNA. It reproduces sections of cellular RNA in test tubes, with an enzyme called polymerase that creates a copy of the RNA segment. Once the polymerase is finished copying the RNA, it can be studied to detect the presence of HIV RNA. These tests also are called viral load tests and HIV nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT).

Hepatitis C and HIV can be detected by using RNA tests.
Hepatitis C and HIV can be detected by using RNA tests.

Hepatitis C qualitative RNA tests are used to determine if the virus is present in the body. Quantitative Hepatitis C RNA tests, or viral load tests, are used to estimate the level of Hepatitis C RNA in the blood. One test confirms whether a person is infected with the Hepatitis C virus, and the other gives the doctor an idea of how much of the virus is in the body. Hepatitis C attacks the liver and can cause cirrhosis. Knowing if a person is infected with the virus helps in starting treatment and taking the proper precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

RNA tests can determine if a person is a carrier for a genetic disease.
RNA tests can determine if a person is a carrier for a genetic disease.

Gene RNA tests are used to examine strands of RNA for changes in the genes or DNA strand of a cell. These changes include missing sections, extra sections or altered chemical bases or sub-units within a DNA strand. The tests often are used to determine if a person is a carrier for a genetic disease that can be passed on to his or her children and if an unborn baby has a genetic disorder. Diseases that can be diagnosed with a gene RNA test include birth defects, chromosomal abnormalities, Tay-Sachs disease, Down syndrome and spina bifida.

Gene RNA tests are used to examine strands of RNA for changes in the genes or DNA strand of a cell.
Gene RNA tests are used to examine strands of RNA for changes in the genes or DNA strand of a cell.

There are three types of RNA: messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA) and ribosomal RNA (rRNA). Messenger RNA takes information from deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or genetic information in a cell to the ribosome of the cell to make protein. At this point, tRNA takes amino acids to the mRNA in the cell's ribosome to put the protein together. The structural component of the cell's ribosome, rRNA is where it synthesizes proteins.

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    • Hepatitis C and HIV can be detected by using RNA tests.
      By: Darren Baker
      Hepatitis C and HIV can be detected by using RNA tests.
    • RNA tests can determine if a person is a carrier for a genetic disease.
      By: Ragne Kabanova
      RNA tests can determine if a person is a carrier for a genetic disease.
    • Gene RNA tests are used to examine strands of RNA for changes in the genes or DNA strand of a cell.
      By: designua
      Gene RNA tests are used to examine strands of RNA for changes in the genes or DNA strand of a cell.
    • The RNA in genes taken from a blood sample can detect certain disorders.
      By: frog-travel
      The RNA in genes taken from a blood sample can detect certain disorders.
    • When mothers are HIV-positive, RNA tests are conducted on newborns to detect the presence of HIV.
      By: designua
      When mothers are HIV-positive, RNA tests are conducted on newborns to detect the presence of HIV.
    • Gene RNA tests can be used to determine whether an unborn baby has a genetic disorder.
      By: Radek Sturgolewski
      Gene RNA tests can be used to determine whether an unborn baby has a genetic disorder.
    • Down syndrome can be diagnosed with a gene RNA test.
      By: Joni Hofmann
      Down syndrome can be diagnosed with a gene RNA test.