Genetic Information/Introduction to Genetic Information

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There is a growing interest in mathematical study of succession of letters that represent the basic structure of DNA strand. In molecular genetics, these letters are T, G, C and A where they represent thymine, guanine, cytosine and adenine.

Electropherogram printout from automated sequencer showing part of a DNA sequence

DNA is an information molecule that codes sequence of deoxyribonucleotides. Where as messenger RNA (mRNA) is an information molecule coding by sequence of ribonucleotides. In the structure of mRNA is a single stranded molecule where uracil, lettered U takes the place of thymine found in double stranded DNA.

The letters in the information molecules are normally written without gaps and when they are taken three at a time, they are called codons. They produce 64 different combinations of bases. It is this coded sequence in the letters, for example, GATCTAC that we will refer to here as genetic information.

Information in this case is about genes. It may also be information about gene products or our understanding of combinations of inherited family traits.

Modern study of genetic information includes information that regards carrier status and information that is derived from science laboratory tests. The science laboratory tests are often intended to identify mutations or changes in specific genes or chromosomes. There are three ways in which genetic information is gathered in a scientific study. One is usually done by series of physical medical examinations while the other is by taking family histories and, lastly, by engaging direct analysis of genes or chromosomes through detailed biometric processes.

The end result in the flow of genetic information is protein, that is, a functional molecule consisting of sequence of amino acids.

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