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Chapter

Cover Genetics

The Central Dogma of Molecular Biology  

This chapter explains that the Central Dogma of molecular biology is that DNA provides the template to make RNA, which provides the template to make a polypeptide that contributes to phenotypes. It illustrates the structure of DNA and the Central Dogma, highlighting features of the DNA molecule that have an impact on its function. It points out modifications to the traditional view of the Central Dogma and introduces the basic structure of a gene. The chapter describes information content that flows from DNA to RNA to polypeptide, which is inherent in the structures of the molecules and encodes the amino acid sequence of the polypeptide. It also shows that, according to genome analysis, a surprising number of RNA molecules do not serve as templates for making polypeptides but are functional themselves.

Chapter

Cover Genetics

Translation: From Nucleic Acids to Amino Acids  

This chapter reviews RNA transcripts made from the DNA sequence of a gene which are translated into the amino acid sequence of polypeptides. It explains that the process of translation is highly similar in all living organisms and arose only once with relatively small modifications during evolution. It also highlights genome-based analysis of transcription that has led to the realization that the genomes of nearly all organisms are pervasively transcribed. The chapter reviews the Central Dogma that originally did not include non-coding RNA but posits that the functional molecules in the cell are polypeptides and that a gene encodes the capacity to make a polypeptide. It details the process of translating information from the string of nucleotides in nucleic acids into the string of amino acids in polypeptides.