Transcription and Translation of the Insulin protein.

First, the DNA coded information (blue helix) in the cell nucleus is copied, or transcribed, to an RNA mirror image (red strand). Second, the ribosome (tan) translates the linear pattern described in the RNA to construct a protein strand. This translation is based on the Genetic Code (background text); transfer-RNA's (cross-like shapes) ferry amino acids to the growing protein chain based on the 3-codon RNA sequence (example, UUA codon = leucine amino acid). Finally, the Insulin protein strand folds itself into its active form. (PDB #4INS)

The butterflies refer both to the pinned insect - the19th century analogy for scientific analysis - and to the end result of the transcription-translation process, Life itself.


Cover of Computer Graphics and Applications, July-August, 2001




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