Vocabulary and Concepts

Experiments DNA Extraction DNA Gel Electrophoresis SDS PAGE Western blot ELISA GFP Transfection/Transformation Viral Transfection Cell Biology Nucleus Cytoplasm Cell Membrane Ribsome Genetics Genome Gene Allele Heterozygote Homozygote Biochemistry DNA RNA mRNA tRNA Amino Acid Polypeptide Protein Enzyme Antibody

Questions Why did you want to shadow members of the lab? What did you hope to get out of the experience? Do you feel like you got everything you wanted out of the experience? Is there anything that you hoped to get out of the experience that you didn’t get? What did you learn? What is your favorite thing that you learned? Did you learn anything that surprised you? How did this experience change your understanding of laboratory science? Did this experience change how interested you are in research? What was the best part of the experience? What was the worst? .

RNA – RNA stands for ribonucleic acid. These “blueprints” are also known as an organism’s genome. The genome is divided into discrete units called genes. ribose. An organism’s genomic DNA is located in the nucleus of its cells. It is made up two complementary strands made of many subunits called nucleotides. The structure of DNA and the nitrogenous(nitrogen containing) bases that encode the genetic information. this means the chromosomes you inherit from your mother and father. There are a few other differences between DNA and RNA. DNA is the molecule that makes up the “blueprints” for the cell. Each nucleotide is made of three parts: a phosphate group. while the base sticks out and forms hydrogen bonds with the complementary base on the other strand. As you might guess from the name. The main differences are: 1) DNA contains deoxyribose. RNA is usually single stranded. it is almost the same as DNA except that it incorporates a different sugar subunit. A gene is a length of DNA that encodes the information to make one specific polypeptide. and a nitrogenous base (the A. C. It is the process by which the cell uses the information encoded in DNA into proteins. In a human. a sugar (deoxyribose). T. in RNA they are AUCG 3) DNA is double stranded. . the functional pieces of the cell. So here are the most important concepts… DNA.Central Dogma “Central Dogma” is the central idea of Biology. or G). The genome is all the hereditary information in an organism.DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid. The phosphate groups and sugar form the back bone of the DNA. RNA contains ribose 2) In DNA the bases are ATCG.

The subunit of a protein is the amino acid. all proteins are made the same way. A baby’s cells will need proteins that encourage growth. charged side chains will be attracted to each other. This RNA is called messenger RNA. The process by which the genetic information in DNA is used to create a functional protein is central to Biology. Protein – If you think of the cell as a little factory. notice all the different side chains. An example of a polypeptide. but at some point adults stop growing. genes are just information. Regardless of their function. This structure is formed when the chain folds on itself. and proteins are the bricks and girders that the factory is built from and the machines that run the factory. Some work as enzymes and catalyze reactions. amino group to carboxylic acid group. others are structural and help to give the cell shape. This is why chains of amino acids are sometimes call polypeptides. they only have an effect on a cell. Proteins serve many different functions in the cell. while an adult will not need these proteins. Every gene is not expressed all the time. Gene Expression– In the form of DNA. and thus an organism. This folding is controlled by the chemical properties of the side chains. When a cell receives a signal that it needs to express a certain gene. The DNA containing a cell’s genetic information is contained in the nucleus. They have a common form with an amine (nitrogen containing) group on one end and a carboxylic acid group on the other end. amino acids are linked together. and transported out into the cytoplasm where it is used a template for DNA synthesis. for example. proteins called transcription factors enter the nucleus and bind to the DNA at the site of that gene. by something called a peptide bond. They have a three dimensional structure. or mRNA. . For example. babies and young children grow very rapidly. but each amino acid has a different side chain with different chemical properties To form a protein.RNA serves many purposes. however. We say that a baby expresses the gene for these proteins that promote growth. however. when they are in the form of a protein. then DNA is the blueprints for the factory and instructions for how it should run. Proteins are not just long chains of amino acids. mRNA is an RNA copy of a single gene. There are twenty one different amino acids. but one very important purpose is serving as a template for protein synthesis. It is copied from DNA in a process call transcription. and adults do not express the genes.

Copying mRNA from DNA is called transcription. or stimulate a cell to start expressing that gene when it normally would not. mRNA enters the cytoplasm of the cell and interacts with the ribosome. if a scientist wants to see the effects of a certain gene. It also helps catalyze the formation of the peptide bond between the amino acids. Much of biology involves exploiting this process. As the polypeptide chain is formed from the amino acids according to the instructions on the mRNA it folds into its three dimensional form. she may use some method to put that gene into a cell. . For example. the protein is released. It may then undergo other modifications in various parts of the cell.The gene is then copied into mRNA. The mRNA contains the exact same information as the DNA. After all the appropriate amino acids have been added. The process by which the ribosome uses the information on the mRNA to form a polypeptide is called translation. The ribosome is an organelle in the cell that is responsible for “reading” the information in the mRNA and recruiting the amino acids that the mRNA encodes.

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