DNA, RNA, and Proteins

Video Transcript

Think of a human body like a house. A house is composed of unique rooms like a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen. Each of the rooms has features that provide the room an identity. A bathroom has a toilet and a shower. The kitchen has a refrigerator and an oven. Some features are found in multiple rooms. A bathroom and a kitchen both have a sink. All of the rooms in a house have a door, floor, and walls. An organism is like a house, but instead of rooms it is composed of cells. Each cell has unique features that gives it an identity. Despite having the same master blueprint, each cell will only make the features matching its identity. The process that allows this to occur is known as the Central Dogma of molecular biology, which refers to the flow of information from a gene to a functional protein. This flow of information involves three macromolecules: DNA, RNA, and proteins. DNA, is a long double stranded molecule containing all of the information for making an entire organism. Every gene is contained within this molecule. Every time a cell divides, both cells, after division, have the exact same DNA sequence.


When a gene is expressed, or turned on, a process known as “transcription” creates an intermediate molecule using DNA as a template. The intermediate molecule is called “RNA”, which is similar to DNA except that it is single stranded and a lot shorter, because RNA only contains the specific instructions for making a single gene into a protein. Using the RNA information, the cell strings together molecules called amino acids, which form a “protein”. This process is called “translation”. DNA is the blueprint, which is a massive document with instructions to build every feature in the house. However, when a door needs to be built, those specific instructions are “transcribed” into a separate, easier-to-read document for building only a door. That’s the RNA. The RNA is then “translated” into the final product which, in this case, is a door. With this process occurring millions of times a day in every human being, it’s easy to understand how a small error has the ability to create a cancer that is unique to the individual’s body. Caris Life Sciences’ goal is to fulfill the promise of precision medicine, that means a precise treatment for every patient and every cancer.

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Patient Education Videos

The Central Principles of Molecular Biology video series is meant to help explain molecular profiling and cancer, so that you can understand how Caris molecular profiling helps fight cancer through precision oncology.