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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Fundamentals of Molecular Diagnostics. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Types of Nucleic Acid Synthesis

A gene is a hereditary unit or sequence of the nucleotide bases ACGT, occupying a fixed location or locus on the chromosome. It is these genes that carry all the information for life processes.

DNA is rewritten into 3 types of RNA, each with a specific task:

  • Messenger RNA (mRNA)carries the protein message to the cytoplasm.
  • Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) is the location of protein synthesis.
  • Transfer RNA (tRNA) is responsible for amino acid transport.

Each 3-base nucleotide sequence (codon) codes for a specific amino acid. Some amino acids have more than one codon to direct their placement; this is termed degeneracy.