WE ALL HAVE UNIQUE BRAINS

DNA and RNA: The Basics

DNA and RNA: The Basics

As requested via feedback, I’ve decided to add a page regarding DNA and RNA and the transcription process. I’ll introduce the two elements first, and then try to interconnect them later on. These processes occur within every cell in the body, firstly in the nucleus and then in the ribosomes.

Pic: http://library.thinkquest.org/06aug/01942/plcells/thinkquest/nucleus.jpg
Pic: http://library.thinkquest.org/06aug/01942/plcells/thinkquest/nucleus.jpg

DNA: An Introduction 

Pic: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/illustrations/dnastructure.jpg
Pic: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/illustrations/dnastructure.jpg

DNA= deoxyribonucleic acid 

DNA strands are the building blocks for not only you and me, but for pretty much every living thing on this planet. All DNA is located within the nucleus of a cell. DNA is a double-helixed structure and has the following ingredients:

  1. Four base pairs: adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (G)
  2. A sugar phosphate backbone: in this case, the sugar would be deoxyribose.

DNA is like a library: it contains every piece of information necessary for your body to function and contains the information regarding how we look. It is located within every single cell within your body. The process in which information is extracted is similar to us going to a library and borrowing a set of books: we first need to find the relevant areas and then take the books out. DNA does this by ‘unzipping’ a certain area and creates certain single strands: and this is where RNA comes in.

RNA: An Introduction 

Pic: http://www.biologycorner.com/resources/mRNA-colored.gif
Pic: http://www.biologycorner.com/resources/mRNA-colored.gif

RNA= ribo-nucleic acid 

RNA, unlike DNA, has only a single strand. Other differences between DNA and RNA are that one of the base pairs is different: DNA has thymine, but RNA has uracil. and whilst DNA has a phosphate and deoxyribose backbone, RNA has a phosphate and ribose backbone. The role of RNA is to take information from DNA and convert it into proteins.

Transcription and Translation 

Transcription is the process of converting DNA to RNA, and translation is the process of converting RNA to proteins.

The transcription process basically goes like this:

  1. DNA ‘unzips’ at the section it wants replicated
  2. RNA of the opposite base pair attaches to the single strand of DNA and create an mRNA ‘daughter’ strand: the table below shows the complimentary pairs
    Table: Original
    Table: Original
  3.  The mRNA detaches from the DNA
  4. The DNA ‘rezips’ with each other

The mRNA then heads off outside the nucleus of the cell through the pores in the nuclear envelope and towards the ribosomes, which are the protein manufacturers of the cell.

Translation Process

Translation is the process of converting RNA to proteins and takes place within the ribosomes. As the picture below shows, the ribosomes ‘scan’ the RNA as it passes through it and builds up amino acids from three separate base pairs each, and these amino acids come together to form proteins.

Pic: http://cronodon.com/images/Ribosome.jpg
Pic: http://cronodon.com/images/Ribosome.jpg