This detailed lesson explains how the process of transcription results in the production of mRNA, either directly from DNA in prokaryotes or following splicing in eukaryotes. Both the detailed PowerPoint and accompanying resource have been designed to specifically cover the second part of point 4.2 of the AQA A-level Biology specification but also provides important information that students can use when being introduced to gene expression in topic 8.
The lesson begins by challenging the students to recall that most of the nuclear DNA in eukaryotes does not code for polypeptides. This allows the promoter region and terminator region to be introduced, along with the structural gene. Through the use of an engaging quiz competition, students will learn that the strand of DNA involved in transcription is known as the template strand and the other strand is the coding strand. Links to previous lessons on DNA and RNA structure are made throughout and students are continuously challenged on their prior knowledge as well as they current understanding of the lesson topic. Moving forwards, the actual process of transcription is covered in a 7 step bullet point description where the students are asked to complete each passage using the information previously provided. They will learn that the RNA strand formed at the end of transcription in eukaryotes is a primary transcript called pre-mRNA and then the details of splicing are explained. An exam-style question is used to check on their understanding before the final task of the lesson looks at the journey of mRNA to the ribosome for the next stage of translation.
This lesson has been written to challenge all abilities whilst ensuring that the most important details are fully explained.