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Question Video: Determining the Sequence of Amino Acids from mRNA Biology

Consider the following sequence of mRNA: 5′-UAC GAG AAC CGA-3′. Use the codon wheel provided to determine the sequence of amino acids that this mRNA sequence will be translated into.

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Video Transcript

Consider the following sequence of mRNA: five prime UAC GAG AAC CGA three prime. Use the codon wheel provided to determine the sequence of amino acids that this mRNA sequence will be translated into. (A) Stop, aspartic acid, lysine, proline. (B) Serine, glycine, glutamine, serine. (C) Tyrosine, glutamic acid, asparagine, arginine. (D) Histidine, glutamic acid, threonine, arginine. (E) Tyrosine, aspartic acid, glutamine, proline.

In order for a gene in DNA to be converted into a protein, it needs to go through two steps. First, the DNA sequence is converted into mRNA during a process called transcription. Then, the nucleotide sequence in mRNA is converted into a sequence of amino acids in a polypeptide, which can then fold into a protein.

Let’s look at how a sequence of mRNA can be translated into amino acids. Here’s a segment of mRNA that is made up of six nucleotides. A group of three nucleotides in mRNA is called a codon. In this six-nucleotide sequence of mRNA, there’s two codons. The specific sequence in a codon corresponds to a specific amino acid. The sequence ACA corresponds to the amino acid threonine.

In the codon wheel shown here, we can work out the corresponding amino acid from the nucleotide sequence of a codon. For the codon GUC, we start from the center and work our way out. We can see that this corresponds to the amino acid valine.

Now let’s write out the sequence of mRNA given in this question and determine the amino acid sequence. The codon UAC corresponds to the amino acid tyrosine. The codon GAG corresponds to glutamic acid. The codon AAC corresponds to asparagine. And finally the codon CGA corresponds to arginine.

So now we can see that the correct answer choice is (C) tyrosine, glutamic acid, asparagine, arginine.

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