Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Some RNAs are bigger than others

Using this blog for revision hasn't been my way of doing things, because I don't want to put loads of stuff on here that's kind of unaccesible, but the majority of what I need to know is a bit unaccesible, therefore hard to write about too. I'm just reading stuff and not taking much notes at all.
Anyway I made this picture a day or two ago to illustrate the roles of RNA. Everyone's heard of DNA, but really, it's the very similar but much more dynamic RNA that actually get some stuff done. OK last time I said that proteins were where the action is, and that's true, mostly. But you're not gonna get any proteins without RNA first. RNA is both the messenger and the constructor of proteins.
In fact, RNA was quite likely the first molecule of life, since it can catalyse reactions on it's own. Protein formation would've been the next step, creating more efficient enzymes, before evolution then settled on DNA as the most stable carrier of information. Which puts a different perspective on things I think. I won't get into the wonder that is the origin of life for a good while yet though, it' just really mind boggling.
Anyways, I'm sure no-one's really reading but here's the picture. All those RNAs have different role's and are different shapes and sizes. We're still learning a lot about what they all do and how they might be used. For example, RNA interference (RNAi; the effect of short, double stranded RNA effecting genes after transcription) was only discovered in the early 90's and was a complete surprise.
Fun fact: small nuclear RNAs form complexes with proteins to form snRNPs. My textbook tells me these are pronounced 'snurps'.

These are the essential processes in turning biological information into action, and that's why  they've been called the Central Dogma. Although I don't like the word dogma used in science, it's clear that this stuff needed an important sounding name.

All that metabolism shit will be covered soon. That's what my second exam is about. Joy.

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