Transcribe and Translate a Gene

Transcription and Translation

The DNA that makes up the human genome can be subdivided into information bytes called genes. Each gene encodes a unique protein that performs a specialized function in the cell. The human genome contains about 21,000 genes.

Cells use the two-step process of transcription and translation to read each gene and produce the string of amino acids that makes up a protein. The basic rules for translating a gene into a protein are laid out in the Universal Genetic Code.

For an overview of transcription and translation, look over the diagram on the right. Then try it out yourself in the activity above!

Transcription and translation
  • Funding

    Funding provided by grant 51006109 from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Precollege Science Education Initiative for Biomedical Research.

APA format:

Genetic Science Learning Center. (2016, March 1) Transcribe and Translate a Gene. Retrieved June 23, 2017, from

CSE format:

Transcribe and Translate a Gene [Internet]. Salt Lake City (UT): Genetic Science Learning Center; 2016 [cited 2017 Jun 23] Available from

Chicago format:

Genetic Science Learning Center. "Transcribe and Translate a Gene." Learn.Genetics.March 1, 2016. Accessed June 23, 2017.