Why Is the Genetic Code Important?

The genetic code is important because it provides instructions for protein synthesis. All organisms on Earth utilize proteins in chemical reactions to facilitate physiological functions. Differences in genetic code result in different proteins, and thus different genetic variations in organisms.

Deoxyribonucleic acid is a two strand helix that encodes genes. Genes are areas in DNA that contain the details for certain proteins. Upstream in the genetic sequence, areas of nucleotides called promoter sites signal to enzymes where to begin the process of transcription, in which the helix is broken apart and a template strand of DNA is read by RNA polymersase.

RNA polymerase, an enzyme, reads the template strand and synthesizes a complementary strand of RNA known as mRNA. mRNA contains triplets of bases (codons) that are interpreted in the ribosome by tRNA. The tRNA uses amino acids from the cell’s cytoplasm to synthesize proteins based on the coding of the mRNA.

Proteins act as catalysts, which are important because they facilitate chemical reactions. Proteins are formed from the same amino acids in all organisms. These amino acids are coded by the same process and can form into 64 combinations. Mutations in the process of genetic coding result in different phenotypes. Matches in genetic code can be helpful in determining genetic similarities and differences.