Study Plan

Transcription, the reading of a DNA template to make an RNA copy, and translation, the decoding of RNA to assemble protein, are core processes in the life of a cell. These critical molecular choreographies use the information encoded in DNA to produce proteins that provide structure, catalysis, and protection for the cell. Protein translation is not the end of the story however. Newly translated proteins need to be properly folded into their correct three-dimensional structure. Post-translational modifications may alter protein structure and function. Proteins need to be targeted to their correct cellular location or secreted extracellularly. The lifetime of proteins in the cell is also controlled. The molecular machines that carry out these processes have been studied relentlessly, yet they still hold secrets. Other secrets are being revealed via bioinformatics, a field dedicated to comparing genes of different species. Data from bioinformatics enable scientists to make predictions about an organism’s physiology and evolutionary development, even if the organism cannot be grown in the laboratory.

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