Nucleotide coding for organismal traits/processes

Larry Farrell farrlarr at isu.edu
Wed Oct 27 10:30:32 EST 2004

Brandon wrote:
>>The promoter and the start codon are unrelated. The former is the
>>recognition site for starting RNA synthesis; the latter is the start
>>site for protein synthesis (and is basically irrelevant to RNA
>>synthesis, thus is irrelevant to what you are asking).
>>The promoter is long enough to adequately deal with the problem. That
>>is, you have properly described the problem. Not surprisingly, biology
>>has figured it out. The promoter is asymmetric, and is long
>>enough/rare enough that (most) transcription only starts in the right
>>Once an mRNA has been made, a simple model is that translation then
>>starts at the first start codon. Actually, in the real world it is
>>more complex than that, but that is a simple idea to start with.
>>Do you have any molecular biology or microbiology book?
> Thanks, that is helpfull in clearing up some of my problems.  Unfortunately, 
> this is just a "topics" class and not one that goes into the sort of detail 
> that I would like to see in a science class.  So I have neither a molecular 
> biology or microbiology book.  I must say though, that the class has my 
> interest peaked. I hadn't considered biology as a major since highschool, 
> but have considered it since starting this class. (currently working toward 
> a business degree)
> Brandon 


I was the one who sent the short, rather snippy, reply to your first 
post directing you to look in your book or ask your instructor.  The 
reason for that reply is that the newsgroup gets lots of questions from 
student that essentially ask those who read the group to do assigned 
homework for the student, and your post came across very much that way. 
  Your posts since then have clarified the situation and I think a more 
reasonable response is in order.

I will again direct you to a book for in depth coverage of this issue, 
but this time not your text.  Go to the library and get either a 
microbiology book or a molecular biology book, preferably an 
introductory text in either case, and start digging.  It really isn't 
possible to explain all of the ins and outs of transcription in a short 
message in a newsgroup, and pictures are *really* helpful.  After some 
reading there, and reaching a provisional understanding of the 
processes, come back and ask specific questions, which can be easily 
addressed here.

It seems really strange to me that any college/university would offer a 
course in which topics such as molecular processes would be discussed 
without the instructor being to provide some useful information.  I must 
also admit that it seems strange that any biologist, no matter what 
their specialty, would not have some understanding of basic molecular 
processes (but that comments comes from a perspective of 32 years of 
university teaching in Microbiology so it probably is biased).

This is being posted in the newsgroup because I tried to send it 
directly to your e-mail address as above and got it bounced back as 
undeliverable because the account had been discontinued or disabled. 
You might want to check on that issue.

Larry D. Farrell, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology
Idaho State University

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