The Central Dogma

The central dogma of molecular biology explains that DNA codes for RNA, which codes for proteins. DNA is the molecule of heredity that passes from parents to offspring. It contains the instructions for building RNA and proteins, which make up the structure of the body and carry out most of its functions.

Inside the cells of all living things, tiny molecular machines are constantly reading the information in DNA and using it to build proteins. In exploring the activity below, you will learn about the three types of RNA are essential to this process: messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA), and ribosomal RNA (rRNA).

Special Credit

Many of the illustrations on this page were inspired by the work of David Goodsell and the Protein Data Bank's Molecule of the Month.

Supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) Grant No. R25RR023288 from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the NIH. The contents provided here are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.


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