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The Central Dogma of Molecular Biology revolves around the expression of genes into a workable protein. This activity will allow you to show how the genes present in an individual’s genotype can affect the phenotype.
Genes are the units that determine inherited characteristics such as hair color and blood type. Genes are segments of DNA molecules that determine the structure of protein that our cells make. The sequence of nitrogen bases (“letters”) in the nucleotides determines the sequence of amino acids in proteins and thus the structure of proteins.
Each gene sequence will take the student through the:
DNA > Transcription > mRNA > tRNA >Translation > protein (amino acid sequence)
By the end of this activity, the student should be able to demonstrate an understanding that (a) the genotype of an individual influences the phenotype (b) the genes in DNA code for RNA, which, in turn code for proteins, (b) the final products of genes are proteins that affect the phenotypes (traits) of organisms, (c) visualize the differences between the processes of RNA transcription and protein translation, and (d) differentiate between the sequence types of DNA, mRNA, and tRNA. Using a simulation of gene expression (protein synthesis) and a genetic diagram to decode the mRNA sequences into Amino Acid sequences.
In addition to the concepts described and followed in the activity, the students get to determine their hidden traits such as which useless superpower do they possess and latent Star Wars phenotype will they express in another.
TIME REQUIRED: 30-40 minutes to work through dehydration exercise to build a chain and 10-15 minutes to answer follow-up questions.