DNA is the carrier of genetic information in organisms. What does that mean? Free essay! Download now
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DNA is the carrier of genetic information in organisms. What does that mean?
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| Words: 1062 | Submitted: 20-Feb-2012
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DescriptionDNA is the carrier of genetic information in organisms. What does that mean?
DNA is the carrier of genetic information in organisms. What does that mean? Large molecules in organism can have many functions: they can provide structure, act as catalyst for chemical reactions, serve to sense changes in their environment (leading to immune responses to foreign invaders and to neural responses to stimuli such as light, heat, sound, touch, etc) and provide motility. DNA really does none of these things. Rather you can view it as an information storage system. The information must be decode to allow the construction of other large molecules. The other molecules are usually proteins, another class of large polymers in the body. Chromosomes are located in the nucleus of a cell.
Chromosomes are located in the nucleus of a cell. DNA must be duplicated in a process called replication before a cell divides. The replication of DNA allows each daughter cell to contain a full complement of chromosomes.
The actual information in the DNA of chromosomes is decoded in a process called transcription through the formation of another nucleic acid, ribonucleic acid or RNA. The RNA, made by the enzyme RNA polymerase, is complementary to one strand of the DNA. RNA differs from DNA in that RNA contains a ribose, not deoxyribose, sugar in its backbone. In addition, RNA lacks the base T. It is replaced, instead, with the base U, which is complementary to A (as T is complementary to A in DNA). The RNA formed acts as a messenger, which passes from the nucleus into the cytoplasm of the cell. In fact, this type of RNA is often called messenger RNA, mRNA. Since the information in a nucleic acid (DNA) is converted into information in the form of another nucleic acid (RNA), this process is called transcription (since the language is still the same, such as when you transcribe a written speech in English into written English).
The information from the DNA, now in the form of a linear RNA sequence, is decoded in a process called translation, to form a protein, another biological polymer. The monomer in a protein is called an amino acid, a completely different kind of molecule than a nucleotide. There are twenty different naturally occurring amino acids that differ in one of the 4 groups connected to the central carbon. In an amino acid, the central (alpha) carbon has an amine group (RNH2), a carboxylic acid group (RCO2H), and H, and an R group attached to it. Since the information in a nucleic acid (RNA) is converted into information in the form of a different molecule, a protein, this process is called translation (since the language of nucleic acids is changed to that of proteins, such ...
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