Transcription and Translation, the Bread and Butter of DNA and RNA.

This article is to provide a step by step process to translate DNA into mRNA into tRNA into amino acids.Giving a step by step procedure to follow to identify, locate, and translate to the appropriate strands. Throughout this article, shortcuts or ‘hin

Translation, transcription, DNA, RNA, amino acids, sequencing....Have you ever been confused as to how to translate strand from strand? This article will give you a easy step by step guide on how to translate your DNA strand to mRNA, to tRNA, and then to your amino acid sequence along with a few tricks to help you remember along the way. Ready?! Let's get started! 

 STEP 1:  You are given one (or two) strands of DNA. The first strand is usually your DNA double helix template strand. This is read from left to right, in the 3’ to 5’ direction. If two strands are given, your coding and template strand are already given. However, if only one strand is given, you will need to determine your coding strand.  In order to determine your coding strand, you will need to match the complementary base pairs of the template strand. See Figure 1 for example.  

STEP 2:  Now you have your two DNA strands. In order to continue translation, you will need to produced and determine the mRNA transcribed strand. The mRNA strand is identical to the DNA coding strand, with the exception that all the Thymine bases (T) are replaced with Uracil bases (U). Alternatively, this strand should also be complementary to DNA template strand. See Figure 2 for example. 

STEP 3:  Now that you have your mRNA transcribed strand, you can translate again, except this time you will produced the appropriate tRNA anticodon. This is determined by taking the mRNA strand in step 2, and translating to the complementary base pairs, still incorporating Uracil for where Thymine is supposed  to be because we are still looking at RNA, not DNA.  Or, an easier way to determine the tRNA anticodon strand, is that it is identical to the DNA double helix template strand, with replacing the thymine with uracil (again, because we are going from DNA to RNA). See Figure 3 for example. 

STEP 4:  Now that all these strands are translated, the codons can finally be translated into amino acids. These amino acids will be incorporated into proteins, and is done through every 3 bases. To see what codons correspond to the appropriate amino acids, you will need to refer to the codon chart, which can be found on google.  Once the STOP codon is reached, it is translated completely. In Figure 4 below, you will see the different codons shown through different colors. See Figure 4 for example.


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