Genes to Proteins activity

From Genes to Proteins Description

Developed by: Jon Stoltfus

Campbell's Biology 9e; Chapter 17

Learning Objective:

"Students will be able to use their mental model of transcription and translation to predict what protein will be made from a gene and how changes in the DNA sequence will alter that protein."

Connection to Vision and Change*
Core Concepts

2. Structure and Function:
Structural complexity, together with the information it provides, is built upon combinations of subunits that drive increasingly diverse and dynamic physiological responses in living organisms.

3. Information Flow, Exchange, and Storage:
The growth and behavior of organisms are activated through the expression of genetic information in context.

Core Competencies
Biology focuses on the study of complex systems.

*Vision and Change: A Call to Action. Washington, DC: AAAS; 2010.


In this activity students are given a scenario in which they must determine what protein is produced from a gene and how a mutation impacts that protein.  There are four versions of the activity, each with different alternate splicing and mutations.  This allows discussion of how the same gene can produce different proteins and how mutation can have different impacts on the protein produced from the DNA.

Pre-class: reading and homework on transcription and translation introducing students to the basics of these processes.

There are two ways to structure a class using this activity:

In-Class Version 1 - Activity following complete lecture on the topics:
1. Lecture on transcription, RNA processing, translation, and mutations.
2. Activity: Students complete the worksheet.
3. Formative Clicker Assessments

In-Class Version 2 - Activity interspersed with mini-lectures on topics:
1. Mini lecture: Promoters and transcription.
2. Activity: Students determine template strand and unprocessed RNA produced.
3. Clickers: Formative assessments.
1. Mini lecture: RNA processing.
2. Activity: Students determine sequence of mature mRNA based on alternative splicing.
3. Clickers: Formative assessments.
1. Mini lecture: Translation.
2. Activity: Students determine protein produced from mature RNA.
3. Clickers: Formative assessments.
1. Mini lecture: Mutation.
2. Activity: Students determine how a mutation impacts their protein.
3. Clickers: Formative assessments.

Associated Questions

Central Dogma


Lecture slides and clicker questions relating to the activity1.32 MB
Central Dogma handout V1205.99 KB
Central Dogma handout V2206.01 KB
Central Dogma handout V3204.65 KB
Central Dogma handout V4202.64 KB
Central Dogma KEY V150.58 KB
Central Dogma KEY V250.45 KB
Central Dogma KEY V350.93 KB
Central Dogma KEY V450.59 KB

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (DUE grants: 1438739, 1323162, 1347740, 0736952 and 1022653). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.