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Protein Synthesis, Landmarks of Medical Science - Science & Technology for UPSC CSE


For DNA’s control on enzyme synthesis (thereby heredity), the genes are copied in the form of three types of RNAs (Ribonucleic Acids): messenger RNA (mRNA), ribosomal RNA (rRNA), and transfer RNA (tRNA). The mRNA is so called because it carries the message from the DNA molecule for the synthesis of a protein or a polypeptide.  RNA and tRNA are named so because the former is acomponent of ribosomes, and the latter is involved in the transfer of amino acids to the site of protein synthesis. The process of their synthesis, using one of the DNA strands as a template is called transcription.


The mRNA is a coded message for the synthesis of a polypeptide. The process of decoding of the mRNA is called translation. The process involves all the three types of RNAs (mRNA, rRNA and tRNA) and some enzymes and protein factors (initiation, elongation, and termination factors).


Infantile paralysis

Part of the Body Affected 

Immune system Inflamation of joints Eyes
Thyroid gland Limbs (arms and legs)



Part of the Body

Spinal cord and brain
Lining of the chest
Intestine; whole body


Facts To Be Remembered
  • Cereals are crop plants like paddy, wheat, maize, jowar etc. The Collectotlrichum attacks the sugarcane. The sugarcane is not a cereal.
  • Chlorosis is a symptom where the production of chlorophyll is affected and the leaves turn yellow. The most important constituent of the green pigment chlorophyll is Magnesium.
  • Weak Mercury compounds kill the fungal spores but do not affect the seeds. Formalin will kill the seeds also, hot and cold water does not kill the spores.
  • Crop rotation is the process in which different crops are grown in a cycle. The soil borne disease are species specific. If one species is affected then other species are not affected. So the farmer changes the crop every season.
  • Biological control: This method is very effective. One pest is destroyed by another organism. For example, the alphids are killed by lady bird beetle. The prickly pear is eradicated by cochineal insect. Here the advantage is, one does not use harmful chemicals which may get into the host plants.
  • Plant pathology: Pathology is the study of the symptoms and cause of diseases. The diseases causing organisms are called pathogens (Pathos = sorrow; gen = creation).
  • Etiolation: Actually means bleaching. The chlorophyll green colour disappears resulting in appearance of yellow colour, as for example when green plants are grown in the dark.
  • AIDs: The term means Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome. The virus attacks the T-cells of the (white corpuscle type) blood and destroys them.
  • High frequency sound attacks the tympanic membrane and makes it defective. 120 decibels is too high a pitch to be heard and therefore it impairs the hearing ability.
  • Congenital disease is a defect with which one is born. The other defects cannot be cured by surgery. But the hole in between the two auricles of heart can be closed by surgery using a membrane (usually from a calf).
  • Antihaemorrhagic vitamin: Vitamin K is necessary for ordinary blood clotting. If this vitamin K is deficient in the diet, blood clotting is delayed.
  • Trypanasoma is a protozoan animal. It lives as a parasite in the blood and later invades the cerebro-spinal fluid to cause the sleeping sickness. This parasite is transmitted by the Tsetse fly.
  • Cretinism is a disease caused by hypothyriodism (less thyroxine formation). The symptoms of the disease are retardation of mental, physical and sexual developments. Pothelly, protruding tongue, dry skin etc. are also indicative of this disease.
  • Mother’s milk in the first few days contains a type of antibodies called colostrum. This passes to the baby and this enhances the capacity for immunity of the body.
  • Antisnake venom: In the Hoffkine Institute at Bombay snake venom in mild dose is injected into horses and the horses are induced to produce Anti-venom bodies. These are extracted and used in cases of snake bites.

Jumping Genes

Working on maize, Barbara McClintock reported in 1940s the presence of moveable genetic elements, which could detach from one site and move to new positions in either the same or different chromosomes. These elements, termed controlling elements by Dr McClintock, were shown to affect the expression of genes on either side of it, producing new phenotype. During the last two decades such mobile g enetic elements have been discovered in diverse organisms from bacteria to man. It has been found that these elements can freely move from one spot to another and have been variously called as transposable elements, transposons, insertion elements, or jumping genes.

Genetic Engineering

The process involves identification and isolation of a specific DNA sequence (gene/s) and its transfer usually to a bacterial cell for multiplication (gene cloning).The transfer is brought about through a bacteriophage or a plasmid (a small circular DNA in bacterial cytoplasm replicating independently) — called a vehicle or vector.

The sequence to be cloned may originate from any source (it could even be man made). There is promise that this technology can be used for the production of hormones, special proteins such as insulin or interferon (antiviral, anticancer protein) or antibodies. If these substances can be produced industrially on a large scale, medicine may be revolutionized as it was after the discovery of antibiotics. It should be possible through genetic engineering to produce various blood clotting factors, complement proteins (part of the immune system) and other substances for the amelioration of genetic deficiency diseases.

Theories of Evolution:

Lamarckism or the Theory of Lamarck: This theory was given by Lamarck in 1809, according to which the excessive use of an organ leads to its development and disuse causes its reduction.

Main Blood groups with their antigens and antibodies

Blood Group     Antigen in RBC    Antibody in Plasma

A                            A                              B

B                           B                               A

AB                   A and B                        None

O                      None                            A, B 

Blood Groups and their Possible Combinations in Blood Transfusions–

Blood Group    Can give  blood to         Can receive blood from

A                               A, AB                              A and O

B                               B, AB                             B and O

AB                             AB                                   All

O                               All                                    O

AB = Universal recipient, O = Universal donor

According to Lamarck, the characters acquired by an individual from constant use are passed on to its offspring. Lamarck’s theory finds support from, stretched neck of giraffe, limblessness in snakes, webbed feet of ducks and blindness of moles etc. Lamarckism is criticised mainly for the inheritance of acquired characters.

Weismann’s Theory of Germplasm 

Weismann (1895) made a clear distinction between germ cells taking part in reproduction and the somatic cells. Weismann showed that the changes acquired by the somatic cells during the life time do not affect the germ cells, therefore, they do not reach the next generations. Weismann presented a modified view of Lamarck and held that only those changes which affect the germ cells in life time of an individual are passed on to the offsprings.
Darwin evaluated the significance of hereditary variations which reach from one generation to the other.
Darwinism or Theory of Natural Selection

His theory of natural selection was published in 1859. The main postulates of Darwinism are:

(i) Each species produce offsprings in large number.

(ii) The variations exist among the members of any large species.

(iii) The production of offsprings in large numbers created intraspecific and interspecific competition.

(iv) Due to hard competition, only those individuals survive which can struggle successfully and the rest are destroyed. This is called the survival of the fittest.

De Vires Theory of Mutation

Mutation theory of organic evolution was proposed by Hugo De Vries in the year 1901 in his book “The Mutation Theory”. According to De Vries, mutations are the main source of variations which are responsible for appearance of new species from the old species. Recent studies have shown that mutations are not common in most plants, therefore, they can not be the chief cause of evolution. Thus the variation which De Vries observed generation after generation in Oenothera Iamarckiana are not mutations according to its modern definition but are chromosomal aberrations called heterozygous translocations.

Landmarks of Medical Science

Egyptian system The Egyptian system laboured under a heavy load of superstitions and magic, yet it developed many cures that have stood the test of time.

National Immunisation Schedule
Age of child   Vaccinations
3-12 months

(i) DPT-3 doses in interval of 4-6 weeks

(ii) Polio (oral) 3 doses at intervals o f 4-6 weeks

(iii) BCG (intraderma l)

9-15 months

(i) Measles vaccine - one dose

(ii) DPT-1st booster dose

(iii) Polio (oral) 1st bosster dose

5-6 Yrs

(i) DT (bivalent vaccine) against dip thermal & tetanus2nd booster dose.

(ii) Typhoid vaccine-2 doses at an interval of 1-2 months.

10 Yrs.

(i) Tetanus toxoid - 3rd bzgklooster dose

(ii) Typhoid vaccine - 2nd booster do se

16 Yrs.

(i) Tetanus toxoid-4th booster dose

(ii) Typhoid Vaccine - 3rd booster dose

Mothers (During) 


(a) Immunised previous ly :- one booster dose of tetanus toxoid, Preferably 4 weeks before the expected date of delivery (b) Non-Immunisd :-2 doses of tetanus toxoid, the first dose between 16 & 24weeks and the IInd dose between 24 & 32 weeks of pregnancy.


Functions of Cell Organelle
Cell Organelle/PartFunctions

a. Plasma-membrane

(b) Cytoplasm

(i)  Mitochondria

(ii) Plastids

(iii) Endoplasmic

(iv) Lysosomes

(v) Golgi apparatus

(vi) Perozysomes

(vii) Centrosome

(viii) Cilia, Flagella

(ix) Microtrubules

(x) Ribosomes

(xi) Nucleus


(i) Protects the cell cytoplasm

(ii) Control the transfer of substances into and  out of the cell.

(i)    The power house of the cell, release energy by the oxidation of the food.
(i)    The colour platids impart colour to the structure
(ii)    In presence of light they manufacture (carbohydrates)

(i)    Increases the reactions surface area for the metabolic activities
(ii)    Synthesise steroids
(iii)    Concentration of products of synthetic activities of the cell.
(i)    Suicidal bag of the cell as it stores hydrolytic enzymes for the digestion of cellular components.
(ii)    Help in phagocytosis and pinocytosis.
(i)    Produce secretions
(ii)    Provide surface for the synthetic reactions and concentrations
and their chemical modifications.
(i)    Participate in Purine metabolism
(ii)    Store enzymes related to the peroxide metabo lism.
(i) Participate in the formation of spindle during cell division.
(i) Help in locomotion and basal bodies
(i) Provide-skeletal support to the cell.
(i) Synthesise proteins
(i)    Controls the synthesis of ribosomes & proteins.
(ii)    Controls nuclear and cell metabolism.
(iii)    Stores heredity information


Pain-killing drugs and sedatives were well-known to the Egyptians. Henbane, a herb which is known as a sedative source was first used by the Egyptians, as a cure for scurvy and also as a cure for intestinal disorders.

Some Examples of Connecting Links
Link Groups
1.    Viruses
2.    Euglena
3.    Proterospongia
4.    Peripatus
5.    Neopilina
6.    Balanoglossus
7.    Archaeopteryx
8.    Prototheria
Connecting links between living & non living
Connecting links between plants & animals
Connecting links between protozoa and porifera
Connecting links between Annelida and Arthropoda
Connecting links between Annelida and Mallusca
Connecting links between chrodates and nonchor-dates Connecting links between reptiles and birds
Connecting links between reptiles and mammals.

The Chinese system

The first great medical treatise appeared in China around 450 B.C. This treatise unlike the Indian Rig Veda and Atharva Veda is an elaborate treatise on medicine. It included, among others, detailed description of acupuncture which has received international publicity during recent times. Between 600 and 900 A.D. the Chinese system of medicine known as HanYi, had spread to Korea and Japan and much of South-East Asia. Ephedra, a herb which soothes coughs, was known to the Chinese 4000 years ago.
Rhubarb, as a laxative, was firstused in China. Pumpkin seeds, another Chinese contribution, is a well known worm ridder. It is now found to be effective against snail fever also.


This system was almost entirely derived from the Egyptians. Scientific therapy started with Himppocrates. Under the Mughal Emperors, Arab medicine came to India. It took root in India, under the name of Unani, mainly because there was so much in common between the old system and new Unani system. The term Unani is derived from the Sanskrit Yavana meaning Greek. The Unani system continues to this day in India.


The Indian system known as Ayurveda originated as far back as 2000 B.C.
Ayurveda is a compound word in Sanskrit, literally meaning, the science of life. Actually it implies two connected ideas—the science of life and the art of living. Ayurveda, unlike allopathy or homeopathy, does not swear by any particular principle of cure. Ayurvedic treatments cover all the principles of allopathy, homeopathy and naturopathy.

Western System The western system of medicine was later named Homeopathy by Hahnemann. Homeopathy is based on the principle of ‘likes cure likes’ while allopathy is based on the principle that ‘opposites cure opposites’.

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FAQs on Protein Synthesis, Landmarks of Medical Science - Science & Technology for UPSC CSE

1. What is protein synthesis?
Protein synthesis is the process by which cells build proteins. It involves two main steps: transcription and translation. During transcription, the DNA sequence of a gene is transcribed into a messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule. This mRNA molecule then leaves the nucleus and moves to the cytoplasm, where translation takes place. During translation, the mRNA is read by ribosomes, and amino acids are assembled in the correct order to form a protein.
2. What are the key landmarks of medical science related to protein synthesis?
There are several key landmarks in medical science related to protein synthesis. One of the most significant discoveries was the identification of DNA as the genetic material by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953. This laid the foundation for understanding how genes encode proteins. Another landmark was the discovery of the genetic code by Marshall Nirenberg and Har Gobind Khorana in the 1960s, which deciphered the relationship between DNA, RNA, and amino acids. Additionally, the development of techniques such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA sequencing have greatly advanced our ability to study and manipulate protein synthesis.
3. What are the main steps involved in protein synthesis?
Protein synthesis involves two main steps: transcription and translation. During transcription, the DNA sequence of a gene is copied into a messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule. This process takes place in the nucleus of the cell. The mRNA molecule then moves to the cytoplasm, where translation occurs. During translation, the mRNA is read by ribosomes, and amino acids are assembled in the correct order to form a protein. This process requires the involvement of transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules, which bring the appropriate amino acids to the ribosome based on the codons on the mRNA.
4. How does protein synthesis contribute to human health?
Protein synthesis is essential for human health as proteins play a crucial role in various biological processes. Proteins are involved in the structure and function of cells, tissues, and organs. They are responsible for building and repairing tissues, producing enzymes and hormones, supporting the immune system, and facilitating cell communication. Without proper protein synthesis, these vital processes would be disrupted, leading to various health issues. Understanding protein synthesis is therefore important for advancing medical research, diagnosing diseases, and developing targeted therapies.
5. What are the potential implications of studying protein synthesis in medical science?
Studying protein synthesis has significant implications in medical science. It helps us understand the underlying mechanisms of various diseases and disorders. By identifying mutations or dysregulation in genes involved in protein synthesis, researchers can gain insights into the development and progression of diseases such as cancer, genetic disorders, and neurodegenerative conditions. Furthermore, studying protein synthesis can aid in the development of new drugs and therapies that target specific proteins or pathways involved in disease processes. This knowledge also contributes to advancements in personalized medicine, where treatments can be tailored based on an individual's genetic profile and protein synthesis patterns.
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