DNA, RNA, SNP – alphabet soup or an introduction to genetics?

The NEI Connection

Blue eyes or brown? Short or tall? Blond, redhead, or brunette? All the information that guides development of physical traits as well as the other aspects of the human body is encoded in long sequences of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Sections of DNA, known as genes, tell the body how to develop and function. The human genome is made up of about three billion building blocks called nucleotides, which code for around 20,000 genes located on 23 chromosomes. Humans have two copies of each chromosome and thus two copies of each gene. Each parent donates one copy of a gene– one from the mother and one from the father.

Figure 1: The Central Dogma of Biology was coined by Francis Crick in 1953 to illustrate the flow of genetic information. First, DNA is used as a template to create a complimentary strand of ribonucleic acid (RNA) through a process called transcription. This RNA template is then used to create a protein by stringing together amino acids in a process called translation. Figure 1: The Central Dogma of Biology was coined by Francis Crick in 1953 to illustrate the flow of genetic information. First, DNA is used as a template to create a complimentary strand of ribonucleic acid (RNA) through a process called transcription…

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