Genetic Code Protein Synthesis
Protein Secretion Replication and Expression of Genetic Information
SUMMARY KEY TERMS REVIEW QUESTIONS CLINICAL TERMS THOUGHT QUESTIONS
Vander et al.: Human I I. Basic Cell Functions I 5. Genetic Information and I I © The McGraw-Hill
Physiology: The Protein Synthesis Companies, 2001 Mechanism of Body Function, Eighth Edition
Whether an organism is a human being or a mouse, has blue eyes or black, has light skin or dark, is determined by the types of proteins the organism synthesizes. Moreover, the properties of muscle cells differ from those of nerve cells and epithelial cells because of the types of proteins present in each cell type and the functions performed by these proteins.
The information for synthesizing the cell's proteins is contained in the hereditary material in each cell coded into DNA molecules. Given that different cell types synthesize different proteins and that the specifications for these proteins are coded in DNA, one might be led to conclude that different cell types contain different DNA molecules. However, this is not the case. All cells in the body, with the exception of sperm or egg cells, receive the same genetic information when DNA molecules are duplicated and passed on to daughter cells at the time of cell division. Therefore, cells differ in structure and function because only a portion of the total genetic information common to all cells is used by any given cell to synthesize proteins.
This chapter describes: (1) how genetic information is used to synthesize proteins, (2) some of the factors that govern the selective expression of genetic information, (3) the process by which DNA molecules are replicated and their genetic information passed on to daughter cells during cell division, and (4) how altering the genetic message— mutation—can lead to the class of diseases known as inherited disorders as well as to cancers.
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