Biological Information

Principles Module 3

What Time Is It on Your Circadian Clock?


  • Discuss the kinds of molecules that carry biological information, and how information is encoded in them
  • Describe the way information is stored and transmitted in biological systems
  • Provide examples of cellular responses to environmental conditions
  • Understand the premises and goals of systems biology

Key points

  • all organisms are constantly taking in cues from their environment and responding to it
  • biological information is stored in nucleic acids (DNA, RNA) and is used to encode proteins
  • the natural or cellular environment induces changes to gene expression via transcription and translation
  • signal transduction chains link inputs to outputs

In-class activities

  • Read the article linked aboved about circadian clocks and discuss 1) why it is an example of biological information flow and 2) how it represents a ‘systems biology’ approach to studying circadian rhythm. How could it be possible to take a single blood sample, as stated by Dr. Ueda, and determine a person’s internal time?