Website Search
ID 15675

Transcription, small still image

What you are about to see is DNA's most extraordinary secret - how a simple code is turned into flesh and blood. It begins with a bundle of factors assembling at the start of a gene. A gene is simply a length of DNA instructions stretching away to the left. The assembled factors trigger the first phase of the process, reading off the information that will be needed to make the protein. Everything is ready to roll: three, two, one, GO! The blue molecule racing along the DNA is reading the gene. It's unzipping the double helix, and copying one of the two strands. The yellow chain snaking out of the top is a copy of the genetic message and it's made of a close chemical cousin of DNA called RNA. The building blocks to make the RNA enter through an intake hole. They are matched to the DNA - letter by letter - to copy the As, Cs, Ts and Gs of the gene. The only difference is that in the RNA copy, the letter T is replaced with a closely related building block known as "U". You are watching this process - called transcription - in real time. It's happening right now in almost every cell in your body.
dna instructions,chemical cousin,intake hole,genetic message,double helix,flesh and blood,still image,rna,building blocks,strands,molecule,transcription,protein,real time
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related content:

15510. Transcription: DNA codes for messenger RNA (mRNA), 3D animation with basic narration
Transcription factors bind to DNA, RNA polymerase begins transcribing messanger RNA (mRNA) molecule from DNA.
15480. Transcription: DNA to RNA, 3D animation with sound effects only
Transcription factors bind to DNA, RNA polymerase begins transcribing messanger RNA (mRNA) molecule from DNA.
16725. Animation 35: DNA responds to signals from outside the cell.
James Darnell explains how chemical signals turn eukaryotic genes on and off.
1445. DNA
Because it contains the directions for assembling the components of the cell, DNA is often thought of as the "instruction book" for assembling life.
16551. Concept 25: Some viruses store genetic information in RNA.
Reverse transcription is found in retroviruses.
15474. RNA's role in the cell, James Watson
James Watson talks about RNA's role in the cell.
16471. Animation 21: RNA is an intermediary between DNA and protein.
Francis Crick describes RNA and its role and Paul Zamecnick explains protein synthesis.
15679. Translation, small still image
Small image depicting translation.
1022. Pathways, Inside the nucleus
In this section learn that an activated protein is transported into the nucleus through a pore in the nuclear membrane.
16422. Animation 19: The DNA molecule is shaped like a twisted ladder.
James Watson and Francis Crick explain how they solved the structure of DNA. Erwin Chargaff explain how he measured the levels of each of the four nitrogenous bases.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationNews & FeaturesCampus & Public EventsCareersGiving