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.
In this investigation, you will simulate the mechanism of protein synthesis and thereby determine that traits inherited by fictitious organisms called CHNOP’s. CHNOP’s, whose cells contain only one chromosome, are members of the kingdom Animalia. A CHNOP’s chromosome is made up of six genes (A, B, C, D, E, and F), each of which is responsible for a certain trait.
Each gene sequence will take the student through the:
DNA > mRNA > tRNA > protein
By the end of this project, the student should be able to demonstrate an understanding that (a) the genes in DNA code for RNA, which, in turn code for proteins and (b) the final products of genes are proteins that affect the phenotypes (traits) of organisms. Using a simulation of gene expression (protein synthesis).
In addition, the students get to express their artistic abilities by drawing a "CHNOP's" monster (CHNOP's stands for carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus - the most abundant elements in the human body).
TIME REQUIRED: 30 minutes to work through gene expression sequences, 15-20 minutes to answer follow-up questions, and however much time they need to draw their creatures.
ADDITIONAL SUPPLIES NEEDED: colored pencils (markers or crayons) and blank paper.