What is the difference between transcription and translation?

Expert Answers
pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both transcription and translation are steps in the synthesis of proteins. Transcription, which comes first, is the process of copying DNA to make messenger RNA (mRNA). This process occurs in the nucleus. The relevant section of DNA is unwound, and ribosomes direct the construction of a reciprocal strand of mRNA. This strand of mRNA then moves into the cytoplasm by passing through a nuclear pore.

Translation occurs in the cytoplasm. This is the process by which the mRNA is used to produce a protein. Ribosomes attach to the strand of mRNA and read three bases at a time to determine what the amino acid sequence should be. Transfer RNAs bring the amino acids that are needed, and the ribosomes attach them together to create a polypeptide, which is then released and becomes a protein.