Stephen G. Saupe - Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321; (320) 363-2782;

Gink & Go in the Kitchen (a look at the Central Dogma)

Setting:  Go is in the dormitory kitchen making brownies.  Gink enters.

Gink:   Hey Go, whazzup?
Go:    I’m making some brownies for a treat after I finish studying biology.  Isn't transcription and translation really cool?
Gink:    I hate that stuff.  But I loved Saupe’s barbecued cat analogy.  He finally said something intelligent.
Go:    Well, I thought it was awful and tasteless.
Gink:   Good pun dude.  You have to admit that it makes sense if you think of the nucleus as a reference library where none of the books are allowed to circulate.
Go:     Right.  And the books are analogous to the hereditary information; the DNA.
Gink:     So if we need a recipe for something like, say barbequed cat, then we have to go to the shelves and find the “Dead Cat Cookbook.”
Go:    But unfortunately we can’t this book out of the library.
Gink:   We could always razor blade the recipe out of the book; the librarians would never know.
Go:    Crikey – that’s a bigger crime than one of Saupe’s lectures!  Don’t ever, ever….
Gink:    Relax, you’re shorts are a little too tight.  I’m kidding.  I would never do that.
Go:    Phew.….anyway, then we would make a photocopy of the recipe.
Gink:   Yeah, and that’s just like process of transcription.
Go:    Only this photocopy of the original DNA is now messenger RNA.
Gink:     We can then take the recipe back to our kitchen to whip up a tasty feline treat.
Go:    Um, right.  Well, the kitchen is analogous to the ribosome where proteins are made.
Gink:   And that’s called translation.  I don’t know why they have to make up new terms for something as simple as saying, protein synthesis.
Go:    Good point.  But the important thing is we’ve now modeled the Central Dogma.
Gink:    I’ve never heard of that breed of dog…is it like a Wiener Dogma?
Go:    No bozo – you know that Francis Crick first suggested this model to explain how DNA codes for proteins. 
Gink:   Yeah, yeah.  DNA gets transcribed in the nucleus to RNA which, in turn, gets translated at the ribosomes to make proteins.
Go:   Marvelous….don't you like the word 'marvelous'?  Now let's talk about the tasty details of how transcription and translation occur.
Gink:   Spare me, dude…..just gimme a couple of those brownies so I can go “Dance with the Stars!”

Exercises:   Answer the following questions when you complete the dialog.

  1. Define:  transcription, translation and replication

  2. Indicate where in the cell each process occurs.

  3. What is the Central Dogma?

  4. How does the genotype relate to the phenotype?

  5. Can DNA be a product of the Central Dogma?  Can RNA be a product? protein?

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Last updated: December 05, 2006   
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