DNA and protein synthesis

In this topic at A level, students need to understand the structure, role and function of DNA and RNA. They must appreciate how the sequence of bases in the DNA molecule determines the structure of proteins, including enzymes. A common misconception seen in this topic is confusion between DNA and proteins. Students need to understand that DNA is a sequence of bases, whilst proteins are a sequence of amino acids. Spelling is another difficult area in this topic as there is a big difference between Thymine, in a DNA base, and Thiamine the vitamin.

The processes of transcription and translation continue to be areas which cause problems in final assessment. It is highly likely that an exam paper will contain a question on protein synthesis. Students need to be prepared to describe a specific part of the process or write a long answer question on the whole process.

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