Agronomy and Horticulture Department



Gene Expression Part 1: Reading Genes to Make Proteins

Date of this Version


Document Type



Plant and Soil Sciences eLibrary (PASSeL) Lesson


Copyright © 2003 Don Lee and Patricia Hain. Used by permission.

This project was supported in part by the National Research Initiative Competitive Grants CAP project 2011-68002-30029 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, administered by the University of California-Davis and by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Undergraduate Education, National SMETE Digital Library Program, Award #0938034, administered by the University of Nebraska. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the USDA or NSF.

Development of this lesson was supported in part by Cooperative State Research, Education, & Extension Service, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture under Agreement Number 98-EATP-1-0403 administered by Cornell University and the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Objectives and Overviews for Gene Expression Part 1

This lesson describes the steps involved in a cell as DNA sequence information is read to make RNA, and RNA is read to make proteins. A gene will control a trait in an organism only when the gene is expressed. This means the gene is read in the cell to make a protein that carries out a specific function. This lesson describes the basic steps in the gene expression process.

At the completion of this lesson you should be able to:

  1. Define the roles of DNA and proteins in cell development and metabolism
  2. Determine the amino acid sequence of a protein given the nucleotide sequence of a gene.
  3. Describe the roles that the promoter, coding region, and termination sequence of a gene play in gene expression.
  4. Recognize the differences between the structure of proteins, amino acids, genes and nucleotides.
  5. Draw the process of gene expression and include the following in your drawing. Gene, RNA polymerase, promoter, coding region, termination sequence, intron, cell, nucleus, cytoplasm, mRNA, tRNA, ribosome, anticodon, codon, amino acid, protein, peptide bond.