What is the difference between the template and coding strands of DNA?

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jking22 eNotes educator| Certified Educator


Both the coding strand and the template strand of DNA are important in the synthesis of proteins within cells. It is important, however, to be able to distinguish between the two, as DNA is double stranded. The template strand of DNA is generally defined as the strand of the DNA that is copied directly for the synthesis of mRNA.

This differs from the coding strand, which is identical in sequence, to the later mRNA generated by the template strand, with the exception that the generated mRNA contains uracil, while the coding strand of DNA contains thymine at these locations instead. 

Following the separation of these two strands of DNA, an RNA polymerase binds to the promoter region of the template strand, and begins to synthesize a corresponding mRNA strand. Once this mRNA strand is synthesized from the template strand, it can then be used immediately, or altered, and then used to start forming proteins. Hope this helps!