The DNA that makes up the human genome can be subdivided
into information bytes called genes. Each gene encodes a unique protein that performs a specialized function in
the cell. The human genome contains about 21,000 genes.
Cells use the two-step process of transcription
and translation to read each gene
and produce the string of amino acids that makes
up a protein. The basic rules for translating a gene into a protein are laid out in the Universal Genetic Code.
For an overview of transcription and translation, look over the diagram on the right. Then try it out yourself in the activity above!
Funding provided by grant 51006109 from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Precollege Science Education Initiative for Biomedical Research.