Why It Matters: DNA Transcription and Translation

Why explain gene expression as the conversion from DNA to RNA to protein?

Gene expression is the process by which information from a gene is used in the synthesis of a functional gene product. By now you’re familiar with genes and DNA sequences and how changes in the DNA can have a big impact. But the question still remains . . . how? How does DNA, which is basically just a blueprint, cause anything to happen? It does so by being converted from a plan into action molecules, which are proteins, by way of an intermediary, RNA. This idea is so central to biology that it is often called the central dogma of biology: DNA is transcribed to RNA which is translated to protein. This multi-step process of gene expression is one of the reasons for the diversity we see in the world around us.

Ok, let’s go make some proteins!

Learning Outcomes

  • Outline the process of genetic transcription.
  • Summarize the process of genetic translation.