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Chapter 3 Section 4 THE GENETIC CODE The main function of genes is to control the production of proteins. Proteins help determine the size, shape and other traits of organisms. Nitrogen bases form “rungs” of DNA ladder. The order of the nitrogen bases along a gene form a genetic code that specifies what type of protein will be produced. Protein Synthesis—the production of proteins. Messenger RNA—copies the coded message from the DNA in the nucleus and carries the message to the ribosomes in the cytoplasm. Transfer RNA—carries amino acids and adds them to the growing protein chain. Mutation—any change that occurs in a gene or chromosome.