DNA & Protein Synthesis

This topic underpins the majority of molecular biology and explains how the structure of genetic material such as DNA and RNA can encode the information needed to construct proteins.

There is a substantial amount of detail, processes and terminology that students need to understand in this topic and this can prove quite challenging. Students first need a solid understanding in the structure and role of nucleic acids. They then need to understand the sequence of processes required for DNA replication. Finally, the processes of transcription and translation can be covered with students building their understanding of how sequences of bases in a DNA molecule determine the structure and function of proteins.

Students commonly find some of the terminology difficult to remember in this topic, with precise spellings of words being important (e.g. there is a big difference between Thymine, in a DNA base, and Thiamine the vitamin). Students that are less confident in the initial work on biological molecules may often confuse nucleic acids with proteins. Extended response questions in the assessments may require students to describe a complex process such as replication or transcription/translation and so regular practice with sequencing of the key events is important.

This collection provides a range of activities and resources that cover modelling, videos/animations, practical investigations and some real world contextual problems and data sets for students to analyse.

Whilst this list provides a source of information and ideas for experimental work, it is important to note that recommendations can date very quickly. Do NOT follow suggestions which conflict with current advice from CLEAPSS, SSERC or other recent safety guides. eLibrary users are responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is consistent with current regulations related to Health and Safety and that they carry an appropriate risk assessment. Further information is provided in our Health and Safety guidance.