Science, Tech, Math › Science The 3 Types of RNA and Their Functions They are messenger RNA, ribosomal RNA, and transfer RNA Share Flipboard Email Print PASIEKA/SPL/Getty Images Science Chemistry Biochemistry Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated September 12, 2019 One common homework and test question asks students to name the three types of RNA and list their functions. There are several types of ribonucleic acid, or RNA, but most RNA falls into one of three categories. mRNA or Messenger RNA mRNA transcribes the genetic code from DNA into a form that can be read and used to make proteins. mRNA carries genetic information from the nucleus to the cytoplasm of a cell. rRNA or Ribosomal RNA rRNA is located in the cytoplasm of a cell, where ribosomes are found. rRNA directs the translation of mRNA into proteins. tRNA or Transfer RNA Like rRNA, tRNA is located in the cellular cytoplasm and is involved in protein synthesis. Transfer RNA brings or transfers amino acids to the ribosome that corresponds to each three-nucleotide codon of rRNA. The amino acids then can be joined together and processed to make polypeptides and proteins.