In high school biology, students are taught the central concept of genetics in a very simple way: DNA makes RNA, RNA makes protein, and protein makes life. In this way, RNA is central to everything in biology — and, you could argue, central to life itself. Biologically, DNA is the code, RNA is the messenger, and proteins are the molecular machines that do the work inside our cells. For this reason, proteins have been the main biological component used to create medicines and improve human health for centuries. Their use in the field of medicine changed the world as we know it, beginning with the smallpox vaccine first discovered in 1796. View More