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DNA Transcription / RNA Synthesis

DNA is a sequence of ordered pairs of base chemicals, where the sequences order of the bases themselves define the phenotypes (physical traits or characteristics) of life itself. As such, it is safe to say that the 'order' of chemical variables in the DNA determines the genetic code and hence the physical (biological) nature of any living thing.

DNA RNA BasesBasically, in order for these codes to become functional, they must be transmitted from the structural DNA itself into the cellular mechanism. In order to do this, a chemical substance known as RNA takes the genetic code from the DNA and uses a close relative known as mRNA (messenger RiboNucleic Acid) to transfer the information into the cell. The process by which genetic information is translated from the DNA molecule onto its sister molecule, RNA, is called transcription.

Technically, transcription is defined as 'the synthesis of RNA under the direction of DNA'. Transcription is also known as RNA synthesis. Both DNA and RNA are nucleic acids, and both use a similar, complimentary (biological) language; this allows for the information in the DNA molecule to be copied directly onto the RNA molecule itself. After the RNA synthesis is completed, an enzyme known as RNA polymerase creates a complementary strand of RNA nucleotides, which carries the information from the RNA to the protein synthesis centres of the cell in question.

Transcription is a 5 stage process, whereby genetic information is transferred from its storage unit (the DNA) the the functional cellular behaviours who's processes determine the physical makeup of the organism to which it is part.

Stage 1 - Pre-Initiation

RNA polymerase binds to the DNA molecule, slicing the co-joined base pairs in half and separating the two polymer strands from each other.

Stage 2 - Initiation

RNA polymerase binds to a point on a singular DNA polymer called the 'promoter' (The promoter is an identifiable area on a DNA strand which identifies a particular genetic sequence). It begins to identify necessary components within the DNA sequence and prepares them for translation onto the RNA strand.
DNA Transcription Initiation

Stage 3 - Promoter Clearance

After the first bond on the newly synthesizing RNA is created, the promoter is cleared. This involves the RNA polymerase releasing the promoter molecules from the transcription process itself. During this point in time, it is possible for the transcription process to succumb to errors in the genetic translation process.

Stage 4 - Elongation

A particular strand of DNA, known as the 'template strand' is used as a template for the RNA synthesis. RNA polymerase travels along the template strand, picking up the sequence of base pairs, and copying them onto a complimentary RNA strand. This process continues until the entire genetic sequence needed is 'transcribed' onto the new RNA molecule.
DNA Transcription Elongation

Stage 5 - Termination

At some point in time, after the genetic sequence has been copied, the RNA itself forms a series of G-C (Guanine-Cytosine) bonds, followed by a string of Us (Uracil bases). This functional process 'detaches' the RNA being synthesized from the DNA template strand.
DNA Transcription Termination



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