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Chapter: Biotechnology Applying the Genetic Revolution: DNA, RNA, and Protein

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The Central Dogma of Molecular Biology

Two essential features of living creatures are the ability to reproduce their own genome and manufacture their own energy.

THE CENTRAL DOGMA OF MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

Two essential features of living creatures are the ability to reproduce their own genome and manufacture their own energy. In order to accomplish these feats, an organism must be able to make proteins using information encoded in its DNA. Proteins are essential for cellular architecture, giving the cell a particular shape and structure.




Proteins include enzymes that catalyze reactions used to make energy. Proteins control cellular processes like replication. Proteins provide channels in the membrane for cells to communicate with each other or share metabolites. Making proteins is a key operation for all living organisms.

The central dogma of molecular biology states that information flows from DNA to RNA to protein (Fig. 2.1). First, this chapter focuses on how RNA is made from DNA in a process called transcription. Next, the mechanisms used to control transcription are discussed. We then discuss how particular RNA molecules called mRNA or messenger RNA are used to make protein in a process called translation. Hopefully, by examining these processes, the reader will gain an understanding of the complexity involved in engineering cells for the purposes of biotechnology.

The central dogma of molecular biology is that DNA is transcribed into RNA, which in turn is translated into proteins.


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