Base-pairing specificity in DNA also allows for the transcription of genes coding for rRNA to produce ribosomes, which facilitate protein synthesis; mRNA, which carries the genetic instructions for protein assembly; and tRNA, which is required for transporting and linking amino acids during protein assembly (Fig. 4.2) (Campbell and Reece, 2005). RNA transcripts are single-stranded, contain ribose instead of deoxyribose, and substitute uracil (U) for thymine in the nucleic acid sequence, thus necessitating reverse transcription to cDNA to analyze RNA extracted from soils. Most molecular analyses target either DNA or rRNA, although limited analysis of mRNA from environmental samples has become possible.

DNA molecule

Gene 1

Gene a

DNA strand 3 (template)
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