All of the Information Needed to Make Proteins Is Coded in DNA By What?

The order of the bases in DNA contains information to build the body's proteins.
••• Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

DNA is a long polymer molecule. A polymer is a big molecule built from many identical or nearly identical parts. In the case of DNA, the nearly identical parts are molecules called nuclear bases: adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine. The four bases are often abbreviated A, T, C and G. The order of the bases -- the specific order of A, T, C and G -- contains all the information needed to build proteins.

DNA and Proteins

DNA is a relatively simple molecule compared to the proteins in the cell. So one question scientists had was how a simple molecule could control the construction of the more complex ones. One example of the confusion: DNA is built from pretty much only four components, the nuclear bases, while proteins are built from 20 different amino acids. The answer was in the order of the bases.

The Genetic Code

If every nuclear base corresponded to one amino acid, proteins could only have four different amino acids. If it took two bases to correspond to the amino acids -- AA, AT, AG and so forth -- there could only be a maximum of 16 different amino acids. The answer is that it takes three bases together to control the assembly of an amino acid onto a protein. The three letter codes are called "triplets" or "codons."

Related Articles

What Does the DNA Nucleotide Sequence Code For?
Why Are There Many Different Types of tRNA Molecules?
How Many Possible Combinations of Proteins Are Possible...
How Are Restriction Enzymes Used?
Human Genome DNA Sequence Types
What are the Small Parts of the DNA that Code for a...
What Are the Purine Bases of DNA?
What Are the Chemical Names of the Four Macromolecules?
Differences Between Coding & Template Strands
What Are the Benefits of Ribosomes?
Why Might a Cell Make Lots of rRNA but Only One Copy...
Comparison of Cloning to Mitosis
What Is the First Step in Decoding Genetic Messages?
The Three Ways That a Molecule of RNA Is Structurally...
What Is Ribonucleic Acid?
Does RNA Contain a Genetic Code?
What Is the Relationship Between a Chromosome & an...
List the Kinds of Information That Can Be Found by...

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!