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BIO101L: Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology Lab

Unit 5: The Central Dogma of Molecular Biology   This unit focuses on transcription and translation, or the journey from DNA to protein.  We will begin with an overview of the process, followed by an introduction to the “manual practice” of each of the steps.  Related scientific techniques, including Polymerase Chain Reaction and DNA microarrays, will also be covered.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 4 hours to complete.

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Distinguish between transcription and translation. - Identify the key molecular players in transcription and translation. - Describe molecular techniques that interrupt, study, or make use of the processes of transcription and translation.

  • Web Media: University of Rochester: Life Science’s Learning Center’s “DNA to RNA to Protein” Link: University of Rochester:  Life Sciences Learning Center’s “DNA to RNA to Protein” (Flash Animation)
     
    Instructions: Please watch this tutorial for a visual understanding of the entire transcription and translation process.
     
    Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of the University of Rochester's Life Sciences Learning Center, and can be viewed in its original form here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 

  • Activity: University of Utah: Genetic Science Learning Center’s “Transcribe and Translate a Gene” Link: University of Utah: Genetic Science Learning Center’s “Transcribe and Translate a Gene” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please complete this interactive game to practice “manual” transcription and translation.  As you work on this activity, think about how the contents of the original strand of DNA relate to the final protein produced.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Kimball’s Biology Pages: “The Genetic Code” Link: Kimball’s Biology Pages: “The Genetic Code” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: This reading is optional; you may read this page for further information about translation and transcription.  This page contains a list of codons and corresponding amino acids, which may be helpful when practicing mRNA translation.
     
    Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of John Kimball, and can be viewed in its original form here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 

5.1 Transcription   - Web Media: University of Utah: Genetic Science Learning Center’s “DNA Extraction Lab” Links: University of Utah: Genetic Science Learning Center’s “DNA Extraction Lab” (Adobe Flash) 
 
Instructions: Please click through this tutorial to learn how DNA is extracted from a cell and copied (transcribed) repeatedly for use in scientific studies.  Extraction and PCR are techniques frequently used in molecular biology; practice each a few times.  Then, try to remember all of the steps on your own, without prompting.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Interactive Lab: University of Utah: Genetic Science Learning Center’s “PCR Virtual Lab” Links: University of Utah: Genetic Science Learning Center’s “PCR Virtual Lab” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please click through this tutorial to learn how DNA is extracted from a cell and copied (transcribed) repeatedly for use in scientific studies.  Extraction and PCR are techniques frequently used in molecular biology; practice each a few times.  Then, try to remember all of the steps on your own, without prompting.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Interactive Lab: University of Rochester: Life Sciences Learning Center’s “Polymerase Chain Reaction Virtual Lab” Link: University of Rochester:  Life Sciences Learning Center’s “Polymerase Chain Reaction Virtual Lab” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions:  This is an optional resource.  You may continue your PCR practice with this virtual lab.
     
    Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of University of Rochester's Life Sciences Learning Center, and can be viewed in its original form here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 

5.2 Translation   - Activity: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: Dolan DNA Learning Center’s "Ribosome Game” Link: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: Dolan DNA Learning Center’s “Ribosome Game” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please complete this game for an understanding of how the RNA complex produces needed proteins from mRNA.
 
Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Dolan DNA Learning Center, and can be viewed in its original form here.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 

5.3 Regulation of Gene Expression   - Web Media: University of Utah: Genetic Science Learning Center’s “DNA Microarray Virtual Lab” Link: University of Utah: Genetic Science Learning Center’s “DNA Microarray Virtual Lab” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click through this tutorial to learn how microarrays are created and how scientists use them to study differences in gene expression between cells.  Microarrays are widely used in cellular and molecular biology, so be sure you understand how they work.  Practice walking yourself through the process step by step, without prompting.  Then answer the following question:
 
How would you determine which protein a strand of DNA codes for?
 
Check your answer against the Saylor Foundation’s “Answer Guide 5.” (PDF)
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.