The instructions for creating an organism (defined as: any individual animal, or plant having diverse organs and parts that function together, as a whole, to maintain life and its activities) are contained in a “manual” a.k.a the genome.
The “manual” begins with an alphabet (which is the letters of a language arranged in a traditional fashion). Just as the letters in our alphabet are combined together to create a word and it is our understanding of that word, which creates effective communication. The letters in the alphabet of an organism are arranged in a traditional fashion to produce effective communication, on how to build the organism.
Each word placed in a specific sequence creates a sentence; this sentence produces the function of more detailed communication. Each of theses sentences is called a gene. Each sentence, or gene, communicates a specific action. To build an entire organism, for example, a human being, it requires a whole “manual.” The manual is the result of the combination of all the “sentences,” or genes. The combination of all of the genes is known as the Genome.
Just like with any written manual, if you need to store the information for future reference you will need something to write the information on. The information for creating an organism is written (stored) in the DNA. Think of the DNA as the pages of the manual.
So we now know that the genes contain the information for making each part of the organism that together create the whole being; individual, animal, or plant. The information contained in most genes produce proteins. Proteins are the fundamental building blocks (foundation) of all living organisms.
The human Genome, at this point in time, is believed to contain approximately 25,000 Genes, which is not so different from the 25,300 known genes of Arabidopsis thaliana, commonly called mustard grass. Each gene can code (hold the instructions) for thousands of different proteins. It is, in part, this complexity and the processes by which the information contained in the gene is expressed (meaning that the information has to be used) that offers an explanation as to why we appear, at least at first glance, to be a far more complex organism than mustard grass.
It is recommended to now move to the
“DNA to Protein” page.