Biology as Poetry: Genetics

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

mRNA Degradation

Processes resulting in limitation on the duration over which transcripts may be translated.

By preventing mRNA from enduring essentially indefinitely, the cell can control how much translation can occur over the lifetime of individual mRNA molecules (a.k.a., transcripts). This contributes to the dynamic nature of a cell by serving as a means of limiting and/or reversing gene expression post-transcriptionally.

mRNA degradation is indication of how there can be tradeoffs between being able to rapidly as well as effectively change in response to environmental changes, on the one hand, and avoidance of 'wastefulness' on the other.

One can also view this concept in terms of specialization versus generalization. Specialists may be able to devote more energy to reproduction (i.e., principle of allocation) by not having to respond to environmental changes by existing within unchanging environments, but as a consequence can also be more limited in terms of what sorts of environments they can thrive in.

For more on this topic, see Wikipedia  and Google.  Contact web master.  Return to home.