Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms
Transfer RNA (tRNA)
Transfer RNA (tRNA) is a small RNA molecule that participates in protein synthesis. Each tRNA molecule has two important areas: a trinucleotide region called the anticodon and a region for attaching a specific amino acid. During translation, each time an amino acid is added to the growing chain, a tRNA molecule forms base pairs with its complementary sequence on the messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule, ensuring that the appropriate amino acid is inserted into the protein.
Transfer RNA is that key link between transcribing RNA and translating that RNA into protein. The transfer RNA matches up via the anticodon to the specific codons in the messenger RNA, and that transfer RNA carries the amino acid that that codon encodes for. So it's a key link between the amino acid and the codon in the RNA.
Name: Elliott Margulies, Ph.D.
Occupation: Investigator, Genome Technology Branch; Head, Genome Informatics Section
Biography: Dr. Margulies develops bioinformatical approaches to identifying and characterizing regions of the human genome that are evolutionarily conserved across multiple species. The conservation of these sequences over millions of years of evolution is strong evidence that they play important roles in biology, such as coding for genes or functioning as regulatory elements. He has played an important role in advancing the goals of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center (NISC) Comparative Sequencing Program. Dr. Margulies's group utilizes both high-performance computational analyses and laboratory-based high-throughput genomic methods to decipher the genetic information that confers biological function.