Reverse transcriptase and RNA polymerase are both enzymes that play crucial roles in the process of genetic information transfer.

First let’s discuss the similarities.

  • Both are involved in the synthesis of nucleic acids.
  • They can both add nucleotides to a growing chain during the process of replication or transcription by its polymerase activity.
  • Both enzymes can recognize and bind to specific sequences on the nucleic acid template.

verse transcriptase and RNA polymerase Similarities and Differences

Reverse Transcriptase

RNA Polymerase

Function: Converts RNA into DNA in a process called reverse transcription.

Converts DNA into RNA in a process called transcription.

Process: It is used by retroviruses to replicate their genomes by reverse transcription.

It is used by all cells to express their genomes by transcription.

Product is DNA molecule.

RNA molecule (mRNA, tRNA, or rRNA).

Primer is required for initiation.

Primer not required for initiation.

Catalytic Activity: performs 3 different catalytic activities: RNA-dependent DNA polymerization, DNA-dependent DNA polymerization, and RNase H degradation.

DNA dependent RNA polymerase activity

Uses: Used by retroviruses like HIV.

Used by both prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

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