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Unit 7

Chapter Overview
Students learn how genetic material is used by the cell to make new molecules important in trait expression and heredity.  They develop an understanding of how the genetic code found in DNA drives the structure and function of the organism through the process of protein synthesis.  They build an understanding of the processes of transcription and translation and the role they play in protein production.  Students explore how the structure of nucleic acids provides a mechanism for storing information needed in building proteins, which are a key molecule in heredity.  Students identify various types of genetic mutations and examine how these mutations may disrupt the genetic process.

Main Ideas
***The structure of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) provides a mechanism to store and transmit genetic information.
***Mutations may disrupt the genetic process.

***Students may think all mutations are harmful to the organism, rather than understanding that mutations are not always harmful and in some cases can be beneficial or simply silent.
***Students may think that protein synthesis is carried out differently in each species, rather than understanding that the basics of protein synthesis are the same for all organisms. 
***Students may think the process of protein synthesis is the same as DNA replication, rather than understanding that they are two separate processes serving different purposes. 
***Students may think amino acids are produced by the process of translation, rather than understanding that those building blocks are either obtained from diet or synthesized in other biochemical processes.

Protein synthesis – cellular process used to make proteins, which includes transcription and translation
Transcription – process of copying DNA into mRNA in gene expression
Translation process by which mRNA is used to synthesize amino acids
Ribosome – site of protein synthesis (translation) where amino acids are linked together to build proteins
mRNA (messenger RNA) – coding strand of RNA that carries genetic information from the DNA to ribosomes where it then specifies how to build proteins
Codon sequence of three nitrogen bases in mRNA that codes for an amino acid
rRNA (ribosomal RNA) – noncoding strands of RNA that serves as the subunits of ribosomes
tRNA (transfer RNA) – noncoding strands of RNA that carry amino acids to ribosomes
Anticodon sequence of three nitrogen bases on tRNA that must match with the codon on the mRNA
Mutation – change in DNA sequence

Other Valuable Resources

DNA vs RNA: Amoeba Sisters

DNA to Protein

Protein Synthesis: Amoeba Sisters

Protein Synthesis: Crash Course (more detail)

Mutations: Amoeba Sisters