The Central Dogma goes YouTube

By Razib Khan | September 17, 2013 3:36 pm

You have probably seen these animations at some point, but if not, I encourage you to check them out. They certainly make abstractions such as DNA → RNA → Protein “come to life.” Below you have transcription, and then translation.

Though the DNA replication visualization is probably the most impressive to me:

The Walter & Eliza Hall Institution of Medical Research has about a dozen animations of this sort. Molecular Movies has a great many, though some of them are more like animated GIFs. Much respect for this group for putting these videos out there, as I see them being used without attribution all over YouTube (with different voice overs, etc.).

In population and phylogenetics visuzliation of complex data has become extremely important in imparting understanding even to specialist audiences. One of the problems for me in relation to molecular genetics papers has always been that verbal description and static schematic figures often do not capture in vivid enough detail the models being outlined. It seems that in the future better visualization tools might allow for more ubiquitous utilizations of three dimensional animation to illustrate structural mechanistic models.

  • John Wilkins

    The guy who did these animations, Drew Berry, was my staff member. I would stand behind him in awe as he put these things together from actual molecular models, and work out how they had to function.

  • Kelly Sheppard

    DNA to RNA to proteins is not the Central Dogma especially if referring to ideas expressed by Francis Crick. The Central Dogma at its most basic states “that once ‘information’ has passed into protein it cannot get out again.” (Crick (1958) On Protein Synthesis. The Symposia of the Society for Experimental Biology 12, p 153).

    You are describing the sequence hypothesis (amino acid sequence is encoded in the nucleotide sequence of a nucleic acid).


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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