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Introduction
DNA
Bases
Nucleotides
DNA structure
Base pairing
Double helix
Replication
RNA
DNA -> RNA
Translation
Genetic code
Conclusion
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Evolution vs.
Design
Design in the
Universe
Design in Biology
Origin of Life
Descent of
Humans
Problems in
Evolution
Evolution & Bible
New Pages
Christians &
Suicide
Judging the
Sabbath
Land Plants
Before Animals?
Four Views on
Divine Providence
Did God have a
wife?
Alien Life in
Meteorites?
Singularity
Movement
Creating Life in
the Lab
NASA's Arsenic-
Eating Bacteria
The Moral
Landscape
'Goldilocks' Planet
Has Life?
Stephen Hawking
is Wrong About
God
Is Satan Real?
Paul Invented
Christianity?
Ancient Hebrew
Inscription
Babies Go To
Heaven?
Medical Marijuana
'Benefits'
INTRODUCTION
How does DNA=you?
This page explains the
"central dogma" in biology -
how DNA produces all the
stuff that makes up living
organisms.
Rich Deem
Bases
Nucleotides
DNA structure
Molecular Biology Primer: All About DNA
by Rich Deem
This page is a quick introduction to
. You will find on this site numerous
references to , and . In order to understand
those pages, a basic understanding of how these molecules
interact is necessary. This description is a very simplified version
of what actually happens within a cell. In reality, the system is
quite complex, with dozens of accessory molecules and co-
factors required at each step.
DNA
(deoxyribonucleic acid) is the information storage molecule for the cell. Each cell contains
within the the entire instruction set to produce and run an entire organism (including
you). In multicellular organisms, most of the is stored in a central location within the cell,
called the .
is composed of only four , which can be thought of as letters of the
alphabet. The structure of these four letters is shown in the figure to the right. There
are two ( and ) and two
( and ). The are commonly abbreviated with the first
letter of their names:
Nucleotide Bases
Base Abbrev.
adenine A
guanine G
thymine T
cytosine C
When a , such as , is linked to a sugar through a
, the structure is called a . When the
sugar is , on either the 3' or the 5'
position (or both), the structure is a called a
. The precursors of synthesis are
deoxynucleoside-5'-triphosphates or dNTPs.

is composed of a (multiple ) chain that is
formed by linking through 3',5'- . In this
way, forms a long chain of sequential .
chains are not usually just single strands of . Usually, of two
molecular
biology
DNA RNA proteins
DNA
DNA
DNA
nucleus
DNA bases DNA
purine bases adenine guanine pyrimidine bases
thymine cytosine bases
base adenine deoxyribose
glycosidic bond nucleoside deoxyribose
phosphorylated
nucleotide DNA
DNA polynucleotide nucleotides
nucleotides phosphodiester bonds
DNA nucleotides
DNA nucleotides nucleotides
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'Benefits'
Genetics &
Homosexuality
Origin of
Homochirality
Natural Evil
Is Religion Child
Abuse?
Why are
Scientists
Atheists?
God of the Gaps
Who Created
God?
Living Together a
Good Idea?
DNA Double Helix
DNA Replication
How does DNA turn
in you?
Translation
strands are to each other. The pairs
through hydrogen bonds with the forming an - (A-T)
. binds with forming a - (G-C) . Because of this
, chains in double-stranded are always complementary to
each other.
The nature of the bonds between
results in the famous "double helix" structure. The
hydrogen bonding between strands of holds the strands together until
they are separated for replication or .
is replicated (reproduced) through an extremely
complicated process. This is the simplified version. The two strands of
are separated and a new complementary strand is
synthesized for each old strand by adding
complementary to the newly-synthesized
strand (see figure at right). The polymerase (the
enzyme that makes new ) reads the on the
original strand and adds the complementary to the
newly synthesized strand. is always synthesized in
a 5’ to 3’ direction. Since one strand runs in the
opposite direction, it must be synthesized in pieces
that are later connected with . In reality,
both strands are synthesized in pieces, since the
is unwound at numerous sites simultaneously on each
in order to produce a complete copy in a
short period of time (hours instead of weeks).

RNA
Since just stores information, there needs to be a way to turn
the information into physical bodies. This
feat is accomplished through the
synthesis of an intermediate information-carrying molecule that
carries the information from the to the , where it
is processed into . The intermediate molecule is called
(ribonucleic acid). As you can tell from the name, it differs from
in that part of it (the sugar) has an extra oxygen
compared to (the "deoxy" version). In addition, does not
use as a , but another known as (see
figure right). forms with , as does
in . is from through an enzyme called , in a process
that is known as . There are several kinds of , which have different functions.
However, the that eventually codes for is called messenger ( ).
Once is synthesized, it is
processed (usually through splicing)
in the before moving to the . In
many instances, alternate splicing of an
can produce multiple . It is one
of the chief ways that 25,000 genes in the human
can make ~100,000 . are
produced from an template using a process
known as . The process is
quite complicated and requires numerous molecular
machines and co-factors. This description is a
simplified version of what happens. A large
molecular machine, called the , binds to
the . are composed of two
subunits. The large subunit is composed of three
forms of ( ) and 49 different
. The smaller subunit is composed of one
and 33 different . A third kind of ,
transfer ( ), carries that are
used to make according to the template. One end of , consisting of three
, called the , binds to a series of three complementary , called the
on the strand. The other end of the binds to a specific . Specific
sequence on the are into according to the . Each set of
three codes for one . This code is nearly universal for all organisms
(with a few exceptions). The code is reproduced below:
The Genetic Code
Codon AA Codon AA Codon AA Codon AA
polynucleotide base-paired nucleotide base adenine
nucleotide thymine adenine thymine base
pair Guanine cytosine guanine cytosine base pair
base pairing polynucleotide DNA
nucleotide bases
DNA
DNA
DNA RNA transcription
DNA
DNA
base pairs
DNA
DNA base
base
DNA
DNA ligase
DNA
chromosome
DNA
nucleus cytoplasm
proteins RNA
DNA ribose
DNA RNA
thymine base nucleotide uracil
Uracil base pairs adenine thymine
DNA RNA transcribed DNA RNA polymerase
transcription RNA
RNA proteins RNA mRNA
mRNA
nucleus cytoplasm
RNA
transcript proteins
genome proteins Proteins
mRNA
translation translation
ribosome
mRNA Ribosomes
ribosomal RNA rRNA
proteins
rRNA proteins RNA
RNA tRNA amino acids
proteins mRNA tRNA
bases anticodon bases codon
mRNA tRNA amino acid
RNA translated proteins genetic code
nucleotide bases amino acid
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Translation animation
CONCLUSION
UUU
Phe
UCU
Ser
UAU
Tyr
UGU
Cys
UUC UAC UGC UGC
UUA
Leu
UCA UAA
Stop
UGA Stop
UUG UCG UAG UGG Trp
CUU
Leu
CCU
Pro
CAU
His
CGU
Arg
CUC CCC CAC CGC
CUA CCA CAA
Gln
CGA
CUG CCG CAG CGG
AUU
Ile
ACU
Thr
AAU
Asn
AGU
Ser
AUC ACC AAC AGC
AUA
Met
ACA AAA
Lys
AGA
Arg
AUG ACG AAG AGG
GUU
Val
GCU
Ala
GAU
Asp
GGU
Gly
GUC GCC GAC GGC
GUA GCA GAA
Glu
GGA
GUG GCG GAG GGG
An animated model of how are formed can be watched to the
right (Point mouse over thumbnail). The 30s subunit of the
binds to the . A specific (usually the first codes for
) binds to the of the The 50s
subunit binds to the 30s subunit. The next binds to the next
on the and numerous initiation factors and the enzyme
link the two together through a
bond. As the complex moves along the , the
chain gets longer until the entire is formed. Other
molecular machines are responsible for making sure that the
folds into the correct three dimensional shape.
is made of 4 chemical that are linked together sequentially. These
3 billion determine what you will look like and how your body will work.
In order to express the information stored in the , your cells have a complicated system
that moves the out of the cell's (through ) into the . Once the
is in the it is into , which are the building blocks of the
cell. Are you ready to use your new knowledge? Check out these articles:
RELATED PAGES
Is the Chemical Origin of Life (Abiogenesis) a Realistic Scenario?
Origin of Homochirality: A Major Problem for Origin of Life Theories
Evolution Deception in California State High School Biology Textbook Biology: Principles &
Explorations
Descent of Man Theory: Disproved by Molecular Biology
Bad Designs in Biology? - Why the "Best" Examples Are Bad
When Junk DNA Isn't Junk
Pseudogenes: Argument for Evolution and Against Design?
RELATED RESOURCES
Fazale Rana (Ph.D. in chemistry), vice president of research and apologetics at
Reasons To Believe, has written a new book,
The Cell's Design: How Chemistry Reveals the Creator's Artistry, that attempts to show that
cellular biochemistry points to the existence of the Creator who designed it. Whereas most
intelligent design books attempt to show the existence of design by demonstrating the
existence of irreducible complexity, Dr. Rana examines the cell's biochemistry with broad
strokes of how everything works together with such marvelous fidelity. So, even if a single
piece or line of evidence might be dismissed as a statistical outlier, the weight of evidence
makes a powerful case for design by a Creator.
Reasons To Believe's third in a series of books proposing a testable creation model
takes on the origin and design of the universe. Previous books,
Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off and
Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man, examined the origin of life
on earth and the origin of mankind, respectively. Creation As Science develops a biblical
creation model and compares the predictions of this model compared to a naturalistic model,
young earth creationism, and theistic evolution. This biblical creation model is divided into four
main areas, the origin of the universe, the origin of the Solar System, the history of life on
proteins
ribosome
mRNA tRNA codon
methionine codon mRNA ribosomal
tRNA
codon mRNA
peptidyl transferase amino acids
peptide ribosomal mRNA
peptide protein
protein
DNA bases
bases
DNA
DNA nucleus mRNA cytoplasm
mRNA cytoplasm translated proteins
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earth, and the origin and history of mankind.
The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism by Michael Behe
Darwin's Black Box author Michael Behe takes on the limits of evolution through an examination
of specific genetic examples. Behe finds that mutation and natural selection is capable of
generating trivial examples of evolutionary change. Although he concludes that descent with
modification has occurred throughout biological history, the molecular devices found
throughout nature cannot be accounted for through natural selection and mutation. Behe's
book claims to develop a framework for testing intelligent design by defining the principles by
which Darwinian evolution can be distinguished from design.
Today's New Reason to Believe
Integrating Science and Faith
05/13/2011 12:11 AM
Understated Elegance: The Uniqueness of Human Biology
During the international coverage of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, I
heard a commentator describe the style of the bride’s gown as “understated
elegance.†This phrase is also an apt description of the subtle cellular mechanisms used
to create the extraordinary uniqueness of human biology. Before 2001, scientists
thought human genes would be sufficiently … Read more
()
05/11/2011 09:40 AM
Manufacturing the Case for Intelligent Design
I worked for a number of years in research and development for a Fortune 500 company.
Visits to our manufacturing facilities stand out as some of the most memorable
experiences during my tenure. It was truly astounding to watch the massive assembly
lines in operation, generating products I had helped develop in the lab and … Read more
()
05/09/2011 09:20 AM
Interpreting Creation, Part 4: Hermeneutical Principles
Both friends and adversaries raise questions about Reasons To Believe’s apologetics
methods and hermeneutical principles. This five-part series has been intended to address
those questions. In part 1, I reviewed the different apologetics methods Christian
leaders use and explained why I believe all these methods need to be fully integrated in
apologetics and evangelism ministries. … Read more
()
05/06/2011 11:46 AM
“Junk†DNA: An Outdated Concept, Part 6 (of 6)
I started this article series by retelling an evolutionist’s claim that the existence of
Alu elements in the human genome is proof of evolution. His hypothesis could be stated
as follows: Supporting statements: Nonfunctional DNA sequences that have the same
location in many species prove that their DNA was “inherited†through the process
of evolution. … Read more
()
05/04/2011 09:25 AM
A Cornucopia of Evidence for Intelligent Design: DNA Packaging of the T4 Virus
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the food, fellowship, and the chance to reflect
on the abundance of blessings in my life. I’m filled with a spirit of gratitude. I
experienced this same feeling of thankfulness after thinking about recent scientific
research from the Catholic University of America in Washington DC. These scientists
have … Read more
()
05/02/2011 12:01 AM
Interpreting Creation, Part 3: The Scientific Method
In part 1 of this four-part series on Reasons To Believe’s interpretation methods, I
reviewed the different apologetics methods used by Christian leaders and explained why
I believe all the methods need to be fully integrated in apologetics and evangelism
ministries. In part 2, I described four different classes of models used across the
creation-evolution … Read more
()
04/29/2011 01:36 PM
“Junk†DNA: An Outdated Concept, Part 5 (of 6)
For the last four weeks, this article series has detailed the junk DNA argument against
intelligent design and shown why this argument no longer holds water. Last week, I
focused exclusively on transcription factor binding to Alu elements (a type of so-called
“junk†DNA once thought to be functionless) because of the critical functions and …
Read more
()
04/27/2011 04:36 PM
ATP Synthase Ratchets Up the Case for Intelligent Design
I love reading Shakespeare’s plays and seeing them performed. One of the things
that fascinates me about the Bard’s work is his use of dramatic devices such as a
“play within a play.†He effectively employed this technique in both A Midsummer
Night’s Dream and Hamlet as a way to advance the plot, with each … Read more
()
04/25/2011 12:01 AM
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Interpreting Creation, Part 2: Science-Faith Models
In part 1 of this four-part series on Reasons To Believe’s apologetics and
hermeneutical methods I reviewed the different apologetics methods used by Christian
leaders. I also explained why I believe all these methods should be used and fully
integrated in our apologetics and evangelism. Here, in part 2, I will briefly describe four
different … Read more
()
04/22/2011 09:22 AM
“Junk†DNA: An Outdated Concept, Part 4 (of 6)
In this series, we’ve been discussing the use of so-called “junkâ€
DNA—specifically Alu elements—as an argument for evolution. In part 1, I explained
why evolutionists might believe that junk DNA is a sound argument and gave an
overview of where we would be going in this series. In part 2, I covered the structure
of … Read more
()
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