Now when a strand of mRNA, after its escape into the cytoplasm, encounters a ribosome, a very intricate and beautiful process called translation takes place…. Imagine the mRNA to be like a long piece of magnetic recording tape, and the ribosome to be like a tape recorder. As the tape passes through the playing head of the recorder, it is ‘read’ and converted into music, or other sounds. Thus magnetic markings are ‘translated’ into notes. Similarly, when a ‘tape’ of mRNA passes through the ‘playing head’ of a ribosome, the ‘notes’ which are produced are amino acids and the ‘pieces of music’ which they make up are proteins. This is what translation is all about… .
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- Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (New York: Basic Books, 1979), pp. 502, 518–19, 531, 532.Google Scholar