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Central Dogma of Biology


DNA info is in the form of specific sequences
of bases along the DNA strands.
The DNA leads to specific traits by dictating
the synthesis of proteins.
Proteins are the links between genotype and
For example, Mendels dwarf pea plants lack a
functioning copy of the gene that specifies the
synthesis of a key protein, gibberellins.
Gibberellins stimulate the normal elongation of

One Gene - One Polypeptide

George Beadle and Edward Tatum were to
establish the link between genes and
enzymes in their exploration of the
metabolism of a bread mold, Neurospora
Their results provided strong evidence for the
one gene - one enzyme hypothesis.

Later research refined the one gene - one enzyme

First, it became clear that not all proteins are
enzymes and yet their synthesis depends on
specific genes.
This tweaked the hypothesis to one gene - one
Later research demonstrated that many proteins
are composed of several polypeptides, each of
which has its own gene.
Therefore, Beadle and Tatums idea has been
restated as the one gene - one polypeptide

Components of DNA
Sugar (deoxyribose)
Base (A,G,C,T)
Phosphate group

Components of RNA
Sugar (ribose)
Base (A,G,C,Uracil)
RNA does not contain thymine

Phosphate group

DNA vs RNA continued

Structural Characteristics of DNA
Double stranded
Base-pairing rules apply (A:T & G:C)

Structural Characteristics of RNA

Primarily single stranded
Limited base-pairing (G:C & A:U)

Types of RNA
Messenger RNA (mRNA)
Complementary to info in DNA strand
Variable in length
Contains specific structural info for the
sequence of amino acids
Processed before using

Types of RNA continued

Transfer RNA (tRNA)
Multiple varieties, each specific for a specific
amino acid
Relatively small, with a consistent 3-d shape
Specificity for each amino acid is
accomplished by a triplet base-pairing
relationship between codon on mRNA and
anti-codon on tRNA

Transcription and translation are the two

main processes linking gene to protein:
an overview
Genes provide the instructions for making
specific proteins.
The bridge between DNA and protein synthesis
is RNA.
RNA is chemically similar to DNA, except that it
contains ribose as its sugar and substitutes the
nitrogenous base uracil for thymine.

An RNA molecules almost always consists of a single


DNA is TRANSCRIBED to messenger
mRNA carries the message to tranfer RNA
tRNA is TRANSLATED to an amino acid
chain, which makes up proteins

In DNA or RNA, the four nucleotide

monomers act like the letters of the
alphabet to communicate information.
The specific sequence of hundreds or
thousands of nucleotides in each gene
carries the information for the primary
structure of a protein (the linear order of the
20 possible amino acids)
To get from DNA, written in one chemical
language, to protein, written in another,
requires two major stages, transcription and

During transcription, a DNA strand provides a

template for the synthesis of a complementary
RNA strand.
This process is used to synthesize any type of RNA
from a DNA template.
Transcription is from the 35 strand (template

Transcription of a gene produces a messenger

RNA (mRNA) molecule.
mRNA carries the message from the nucleus to the

During translation, the information contained in

the order of nucleotides in mRNA is used to
determine the amino acid sequence of a
Translation occurs at ribosomes.

The basic mechanics of transcription and

translation are similar in eukaryotes and
Because bacteria lack nuclei, transcription
and translation are coupled.
Ribosomes attach to the leading end of a
mRNA molecule while transcription is still in


In a eukaryotic cell, almost all transcription occurs

in the nucleus and translation occurs mainly at
ribosomes in the cytoplasm.
In addition, before the
primary transcript
can leave the nucleus
it is modified in
various ways during
RNA processing
before the finished
mRNA is exported
to the cytoplasm.
Introns are removed

RNA Packaging
Introns are removed (only exons contain
genetic info)
Addition of a 5 cap on mRNA (for
orientation purposes)
Addition of a 3 tail on mRNA (allows it to
last longer)

To summarize, genes program protein

synthesis via genetic messenger RNA.
The molecular chain of command in a cell is
DNA RNA protein.
This is referred to as the Central Dogma of