Protein synthesis in real time.

the blue molecule racing along the DNA

is reading the gene it's unzipping the

double helix and copying one of the two


the yellow chain snaking out of the top

is a copy of the genetic message and

it's made of a closed chemical cousin of

DNA called RNA the building blocks to

make the RNA enter through an intake

hole they are matched to the DNA

letter-by-letter to copy the A's C's T's

and G's of the gene the only difference

is that in the RNA copy the letter T is

replaced with a closely related building

block known as you

you are watching this process called

transcription in real time it's

happening right now in almost every cell

in your body

when the RNA copy is complete it snakes

out into the outer part of the cell then

in a dazzling display of choreography

all the components of a molecular

machine locked together around the RNA

to form a miniature factory called a

ribosome it translates the genetic

information in the RNA into a string of

amino acids that will become a protein

special transfer molecules the green

triangles bring each amino acid to the

ribosome the amino acids are the small

red tips attached to the transfer


there are different transfer molecules

for each of the 20 amino acids each

transfer molecule carries a three-letter

code that is matched with the RNA in the

machine now we come to the heart of the

process inside the ribosome the RNA is

pulled through like a tape the code for

each amino acid is read off three

letters at a time and match to three

corresponding letters on the transfer

molecules when the right transfer

molecule plugs in the amino acid it

carries is added to the growing protein

chain again you are watching this in

real time and after a few seconds the

assembled protein starts to emerge from

the ribosome ribosomes can make any kind

of protein it just depends what genetic

message you feed in on the RNA

in this case the end product is

hemoglobin the cells in our bone marrow

churn out a hundred trillion molecules

of it per second and as a result our

muscles brain and all the vital organs

in our body receive the oxygen they need