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Thread: How exactly is the DNA read to build an organism?

  1. #1 How exactly is the DNA read to build an organism? 
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    I've been wondering, how exactly is the DNA read?
    For example, after conception, when there is a single cell, how is the DNA interpreted by the cells for them to know how the build the various parts?

    I'm not much good at biology so I need a simplified answer, Google didn't help me, although I'm happy with a link to an article explaining it.


    Steven


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    Quote Originally Posted by User0fDoom View Post
    I've been wondering, how exactly is the DNA read?
    For example, after conception, when there is a single cell, how is the DNA interpreted by the cells for them to know how the build the various parts?

    I'm not much good at biology so I need a simplified answer, Google didn't help me, although I'm happy with a link to an article explaining it.


    Steven
    Well, if you're truly "not much good at biology," it might be hard to give you an easily comprehended "exact" answer.

    But perhaps a good start is this page, from the Nobel Foundation: DNA-RNA-Protein

    The very short, and thus incomplete, version is: DNA --> RNA --> proteins --> you. The link leads you to a page that has two forks in the road: Advanced and Basic. Start at Basic and work your way on up.


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    And be sure to check out this video:
    Transcription and Translation - YouTube

    If you have more questions, do not hesitate to ask.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    So once you have the single cell (at conception) the DNA is used for transcription and translation (as indicated by the previous answers).

    Part of what these processes allow is cell division. You start with one cell, and through transcription and translation (and a lot of other complicated stuff) the cell divides and then you have 2 cells. And then those cells divide and you have 4. The exact reason for cell differentiation (why your muscles develop separately from your brain and your arms separately from your legs) is extremely complicated, but happens only after the zygote (original cell) has divided and multiplied to create a small ball of cells. Then, somehow the cells communicate and each one decides that only certain pieces of their DNA will be transcribed and translated. It is the choice of which parts of the DNA to express that causes the cells to differentiate (develop into the thousands of different cell types that are present in your body).

    Let me know if you have any questions or want a short, simple article to explain these developmental phenomena. I could dig up a link to one.
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