Monster Lab

Simulating Protein Synthesis
Your unique body characteristics (

), such as hair color or blood type, are determined by the
proteins your body produces.
are the building blocks of life – in fact, about 45% of the human body is
made of protein. These organic macromolecules perform a wide range of functions including body repair,
regulation, and protection. Proteins are created by bonding groups of
amino acids

that are coded for by the
nucleotide base sequences (A, T, G, C) in your DNA.
is trapped in the nucleus because it is too wide to escape through the small nuclear pores in the
nuclear membrane. This is a big issue for the cell since proteins are made outside the nucleus in the
cytoplasm. For this reason, a process called
occurs. DNA passes on its nucleotide base
sequences, or code, to a single-stranded molecule called
(messenger). mRNA then carries the code
out to the cytoplasm to the
, the site where proteins are made.
When the mRNA reaches the ribosome, the code in the mRNA nucleotides are read in groups of three
bases, or
. Each codon signals another type of RNA, called
(transfer), to carry a specific amino
acid into the ribosome. As amino acids continue to bond to one another it forms a
chain that
eventually results in a protein. This process is known as
In this investigation, you will simulate protein synthesis by transcribing the DNA and translating the
mRNA of the imaginary CHNOPS monster. The CHNOPS monster’s cells contain only one chromosome that
carries nine genes: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, & I each of which codes for a specific trait. You will decode each
gene to determine the phenotypic expression of the CHNOPS monster’s DNA, and then draw the monster
based on your results.
and record the mRNA from the DNA sequence in each gene data table.
2. Next, the translation would occur resulting in the
sequence that is complementary
to the mRNA base sequence. tRNA transfers the amino acids to the ribosome.
3. Use Figure 1 to
the mRNA and record amino acid sequences.
4. Use the sequence of amino acids and Figure 2 to record the inherited phenotype and trait.
5. Create your imaginary CHNOPS monster based on the results of the gene expression.
6. Complete the discussion questions on your answer sheet.
7. Figure 1
Figure 2
Amino Acid Sequence
Trait Phenotype
Gly – Arg – Cys
Blue Skin
Gly – Arg – Arg
Green Skin
Gly – Arg – Phe
Yellow Skin
I – Ile – Leu
Black Hair
I – Ile – Asn
Orange Hair
Phe – Lys
1 Antenna
Phe – Val
2 Antenna
Phe – Asn
3 Antenna
Pro – Pro – Tyr
6 Eyes
Pro – Tyr – Arg
4 Eyes
Pro – Tyr – Glu
1 Eye
The – Glu – Tyr
The – Gly – Tyr
Ser – Arg
2 Legs
Ser – Asn
3 Legs
Ser – Lys
4 Legs
Gly – Arg – Lys – Pro
Pink polka dots
Glu – Arg – Lys – Pro
Purple polka dots
Gly – Lys – Asn
Gly – Lys – Ile
No Tail
Asn – Thr
2 Arms
Asn – Pro
4 Arms

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