Biology: Translation and Transcription

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First off, genes provide the instructions for making specific proteins. But a gene does not build a protein directly. The bridge between DNA an protein synthesis is the nucleic acid RNA. Basically, nucleic acids and proteins contain information written in two different chemical languages. Now transcription is the synthesis of RNA under direction of DNA. Both nucleic acids use the same language, and the information is simply transcribed, or copied, from one molecule to the other. Just as a DNA strand provides a template for the synthesis of a new complementary strand during DNA replication, it provides a template for assembling a sequence of RNA nucleotides. The resulting RNA molecule is a faithful transcript of the gene’s protein-building instructions. In discussing protein-coding genes, this type of RNA molecule is called messenger RNA (mRNA), because it carries a genetic message from the DNA to the protein-synthesizing machinery of the cell. Now translation is the actual synthesis of a polypeptide, which occurs under the direction of mRNA. During this stage, there is a change in language: The cell must translate the base sequence of an mRNA molecule into the amino acid sequence of a polypeptide. The site of translations is ribosomes, complex particles that facilitate the orderly linking of amino acids into polypeptide chains. This actually leads into a complex process, since it can’t just change into DNA. First, it provides protection for the DNA and its genetic information. Instead they use copies of the originals (analogous to mRNA), keeping the originals pristine and undamaged. Second, using an RNA intermediate allows more copies of a protein to be made simultaneously, since many RNA transcripts can be made from one gene. Also, each RNA transcript can be translated repeatedly. Although the basic mechanics of transcription and translation are similar

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