What is translation?

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melony82 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Translation is the second half of protein synthesis. 

DNA is essentially a huge instruction manual on how to make each of the proteins that are needed to create the organism it belongs to.  You can think of each gene as an individual recipe.  During protein synthesis, this "recipe" is converted into an actual protein.  The first step is called transcription.  During this stage, a copy of the portion of the DNA that carries the particular gene of interest needs to be copied onto the mRNA, or messenger RNA.  In Eukaryotes, which keep their DNA in the nucleus, transcription occurs within the nucleus.  Once transcription is complete, the mRNA molecule leaves the DNA and travels to a ribosome (made of rRNA and protein) where it will be translated.  The ribosome basically reads the instructions on the mRNA three bases (C, G, A, and U) at a time (every three equals one codon).  Each codon is the instruction for one specific amino acid, which the tRNA (transfer RNA) brings to the ribosome.  The ribosome then joins these amino acids together to form the protein.  

lynn30k's profile pic

lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Translation is part of the "Central Dogma" of how proteins are made. In transcription, DNA is copied and a strand of mRNA is produced. The bases of the mRNA are then "read" or translated, three at a time. Each set of three bases codes for a certain amino acid. A new chain of amino acids forms as the mRNA bases are read. The chain of amino acids folds in a set way and becomes a new polypeptide (protein).

In sum, DNA is transcribed into mRNA, which is then translated into a protein.

zumba96's profile pic

zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Translation is the process of translating the sequence of a messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule to a sequence of amino acids during protein synthesis. The genetic code describes the relationship between the sequence of base pairs in a gene and the corresponding amino acid sequence that it encodes. In the cell cytoplasm, the ribosome reads the sequence of the mRNA in groups of three bases to assemble the protein.

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