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Intro to Molecular Genetics RNA & Protein Synthesis 3/16/2011.

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1 Intro to Molecular Genetics RNA & Protein Synthesis 3/16/2011

2 Molecular Basis of Heredity Molecular: studying organisms at the molecular (molecule – like DNA) level Genes are coding pieces of DNA Most genes contain nothing more than instructions for assembling/synthesizing proteins Proteins are each designed to build or operate a specific component of a living cell –Examples: A protein that is important in maintaining bone A protein that produces flower pigment (color) A protein that is involved in the digestion of fat

3 “Central Dogma” The very general view of how molecular biology “works” is that genetic information is transferred from DNA  RNA  protein In this unit, we will be studying the processes by which DNA information is transferred to RNA and how RNA information is transferred to protein The overall two-step process is called protein synthesis – The two steps are transcription and translation

4 RNA The structure of DNA did not explain how genes worked The discovery of RNA, another nucleic acid, led to the understanding of how genes are expressed – how the DNA code is put into action (how the DNA code “becomes” a protein) RNA is a “disposable” copy of a part of DNA

5 RNA & DNA In both DNA and RNA, each nucleotide is made up of a 5 carbon sugar, a nitrogenous base, and a phosphate There are three major differences between the two nucleic acids:

6 Function of RNA The function of most RNA molecules is protein synthesis – RNA controls the assembly of amino acids into proteins Different types of RNA specialize in different aspects of protein synthesis

7 Types of RNA Messenger RNA (mRNA) – mRNA carries copies of DNA’s instructions to other parts of the cell Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) – The structure of a ribosome consists of two subunits – These subunits are made up of rRNA and other proteins Transfer RNA (tRNA) – Transfers amino acids to the ribosome to be assembled into proteins


9 Transcription The process of copying DNA’s information into a molecule of mRNA How is it done?

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