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FRANCIS LEROY & MATHILDE VANSPEYBROUCK, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRANCIS LEROY & MATHILDE VANSPEYBROUCK, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nonsense mutation, animation. This is a genetic mutation in a DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) sequence that results in the production of an incomplete protein. Prior to protein formation DNA (red) is transcribed into messenger RNA (ribonucleic acid, green). DNA and RNA are made up of a chain of many small molecules, known as nucleotides. During protein formation these nucleotides are read in groups of three called codons. Each codon corresponds to a specific amino acid (blue), which is used by the cell to build a complete protein. This normal process is shown in the upper frame. In the lower frame a mutation has changed the codon for an amino acid (UUG) into a stop codon (UAG), which brings the protein formation to an end. The resulting protein will be shorter than normal and is unlikely to function.
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