Using DNA Information to Make Proteins

A. Malcolm Campbell, Christopher Paradise

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Many people were taught that DNA is the “blueprint of the cell,” but what does that really mean? If taken literally, it would reveal a static image of what the cell looks like, but that would be incorrect. DNA codes the necessary information to produce a living being but the DNA itself is insufficient to bring a cell to life. DNA must be transcribed into segments of RNA and the RNA must generate proteins from unassembled amino acids. The conversion of DNA information into functional proteins is often referred to as central dogma, which reflects its critical role in life. However, every cell in a body contains the same genes but only a subset of genes is needed to be activated in any given cell for a cell to function properly. This book will explore many of the classic experiments that led to our current understanding central dogma. Furthermore, real data are used to discover that central dogma information is not linear and that cells must cut and paste together segments of RNA in order to build the functional proteins of cells.

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A. Malcolm Campbell

A. Malcolm Campbell teaches biology at Davidson College, NC. He received national and international education awards: Genetics Society of America (2013); American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012); and American Society for Cell Biology (2006). He was the founding co-editor in chief of CBE Life Sciences Education; founding director of Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT); and member of the American Society for Cell Biology governing council (2012–2014).

Christopher J. Paradise

Christopher J. Paradise is professor of biology and environmental studies at Davidson College. He teaches introductory biology, ecology, entomology, and topical seminars on ecotoxicology and renewable natural resources. He also occasionally leads a study abroad program in India.  His research evaluates anthropogenic factors that influence insect biodiversity at a variety of scales.  His current research interests include effects of land use patterns on pollinator communities in parks.