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RNAProtein Synthesis SE

University: Harvard University

Course: Molecular Biology (BP 723)

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Student Exploration: RNA and Protein Synthesis

Vocabulary: amino acid, anticodon, codon, gene, messenger RNA, nucleotide,

ribosome, RNA, RNA polymerase, transcription, transfer RNA, translation

Prior Knowledge Questions (Do these BEFORE using the Gizmo.)

•Suppose you want to design and build a house. How would you communicate your

design plans with the construction crew that would work on the house?

Create a blueprint for the house.

•Cells build large, complicated molecules, such as proteins. What do you think cells

use as their “design plans” for proteins?


Gizmo Warm-up

Just as a construction crew uses blueprints to build a

house, a cell uses DNA as plans for building proteins. In

addition to DNA, another nucleic acid, called RNA, is

involved in making proteins. In the RNA and Protein

Synthesis Gizmo, you will use both DNA and RNA to

construct a protein out of amino acids.

•DNA is composed of the bases adenine (A), cytosine

(C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). RNA is composed

of adenine, cytosine, guanine, and uracil (U).

Look at the SIMULATION pane. Is the displayed

segment a part of a DNA or RNA molecule? How do

you know?

DNA because it has the base A-T and G-C

•RNA polymerase is a type of enzyme. Enzymes help chemical reactions occur

quickly. Click the Release enzyme button, and describe what happens.

The enzyme moves down the DNA molecule, separating the nucleotides.

Activity A:


Get the Gizmo ready:

•If necessary, click Release enzyme.

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