DNA and Protein Synthesis


  • Describe the experimental evidence used to construct our knowledge of a DNA model
  • Describe the structure of DNA with respect to its function.
  • Describe the structure of DNA and its relationship to chromosomes.
  • Explain the role of DNA in protein synthesis.

Course Essential Understandings about Heredity, from the Ohio State Science Standards:

  • Life is specified by genomes. Each organism has a genome that contains all of the biological information needed to build and maintain a living example of that organism. The biological information contained in a genome is encoded in its deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and is divided into discrete units called genes.
  • Genes are segments of DNA molecules. The sequence of DNA bases in a chromosome determines the sequence of amino acids in a protein. Inserting, deleting or substituting segments of DNA molecules can alter genes.
  • An altered gene may be passed on to every cell that develops from it. The resulting features may help, harm or have little or no effect on the offspring’s success in its environments.
  • Gene mutations (when they occur in gametes) can be passed on to offspring.
  • Genes code for protein. The sequence of DNA bases in a chromosome determines the sequence of amino acids in a protein.
  • “The many body cells in an individual can be very different from one another, even though they are all descended from a single cell and thus have essentially identical genetic instructions. Different genes are active in different types of cells, influenced by the cell’s environment and past history.” (AAAS)

Students will know....

  1. How we came to know that DNA is the hereditary material
  2. The structure of DNA is a double helix made of 4 bases, which pair as (cytosine -guanine; alanine - thymine) supported by a sugar-phosphate backbone.
  3. DNA coils tightly to form chromosomes.
  4. Protein is produced from RNA which carries the instructions for making protein from the code in a cell's DNA.
  5. The differences between DNA and RNA are:
    • double stranded / single stranded
    • thymine/uracil
    • deoxyribose/ribose
    • one type/3 types
  6. Protein synthesis
    • DNA holds the instructions/blueprints or making proteins
    • mRNA leaves the nucleus
    • rRNA reads mRNA and directs
    • tRNA as it brings amino acids that connect to one another to make protein

Students will be able to.... AKA I can.....

  1. Explain how we know that DNA is the hereditary material, citing experimental evidence.
  2. Describe the chemical structure of DNA, and explain how we know the structure.
  3. Describe the process of DNA replication, explaining why the process is termed semiconservative.
  4. Explain how the coiling of DNA into chromosomes takes place and why this is important.
  5. Explain the transcription of RNA from DNA.
  6. Explain 4 differences between DNA and RNA, and why each is significant.
  7. Describe three types of RNA and explain the role of each in protein synthesis.
  8. Trace the synthesis of protein from the transcription of DNA into mRNA through the production of a finished protein.
  9. Explain how errors in any of the processes above can result in
Academic Language: Bricks Academic Language: Mortar
  • amino acid
  • protein
  • nucleic acids
  • virus
  • adenine
  • cytosine
  • guanine
  • thymine
  • purine
  • pyrimidine
  • X-ray diffraction
  • complementary base pair
  • sugar-phosphate backbone
  • double helix
  • ribosome
  • ribose
  • phosphate
  • chromosome
  • semiconservative replication
  • DNA helicase
  • DNA polymerase
  • genetic code
  • codon
  • anticodon
  • peptide, polypeptide
  • translate/translation
  • transcribe/transcription
  • replicate/replication
  • complement/complementary
  • synthesize/synthesis
  • strand
  • backbone
  • claim
  • evidence
  • reason
  • compare/contrast
  • describe
  • explain

People and their Experiments:

  • Griffith
  • Avery
  • Hershey-Chase
  • Franklin
  • Watson
  • Crick

Unit Resources

Outside Links and Resources

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This work by Luann Christensen Lee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License 1989-2018

Ohio State Science Standards: