Related topics: genome · protein · cells · mutations · gene expression

'Conductor' gene found in plant root stem cell 'orchestra'

In a new paper, researchers at North Carolina State University lift the veil on the "conductor" plant root stem cell gene that helps orchestrate and coordinate stem cell division of different root stem cell types, ensuring ...

Conferring leaf rust resistance in cereal crops

Genes have been identified that confer resistance to multiple leaf rust species in barley. The findings by an international team, led by KAUST researchers, could transform the breeding of durable disease-resistant cereal ...

Gene expression regulation in Chinese cabbage illuminated

Doctoral student Ayasha Akter (Kobe University's Graduate School of Agricultural Science) and technical staff member Satoshi Takahashi (from the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science) have revealed the important role ...

Scientists detail how chromosomes reorganize after cell division

Researchers have discovered key mechanisms and structural details of a fundamental biological process—how a cell nucleus and its chromosomal material reorganizes itself after cell division. The new findings in chromosomal ...

A new gene involved in strawberry fruiting time is identified

Their great taste and their health benefits have made them one of the most popular fruits. The world market for strawberries, rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, was greater than 9 millon tons in 2016. According to the latest ...

Big data toolkit to mine the dark genome for precision medicine

EPFL researchers have developed Big Data tools for identifying new gene functions. The work identifies millions of connections between genes and their functions, and can facilitate the development of precision medicine.

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Gene

A gene is the basic unit of heredity in a living organism. All living things depend on genes. Genes hold the information to build and maintain their cells and pass genetic traits to offspring. A modern working definition of a gene is "a locatable region of genomic sequence, corresponding to a unit of inheritance, which is associated with regulatory regions, transcribed regions, and or other functional sequence regions " . In common usage, the term gene often refers to what is known more accurately as an allele.

The notion of a gene has evolved with the science of genetics, which began when Gregor Mendel noticed that biological variations are inherited from parent organisms as specific, discrete traits. The biological entity responsible for defining traits was termed a gene, but the biological basis for inheritance remained unknown until DNA was identified as the genetic material in the 1940s. All organisms have many genes corresponding to many different biological traits, some of which are immediately visible, such as eye color or number of limbs, and some of which are not, such as blood type or increased risk for specific diseases, or the thousands of basic biochemical processes that comprise life.

In cells, a gene is a portion of DNA that contains both "coding" sequences that determine what the gene does, and "non-coding" sequences that determine when the gene is active (expressed). When a gene is active, the coding and non-coding sequences are copied in a process called transcription, producing an RNA copy of the gene's information. This piece of RNA can then direct the synthesis of proteins via the genetic code. In other cases, the RNA is used directly, for example as part of the ribosome. The molecules resulting from gene expression, whether RNA or protein, are known as gene products, and are responsible for the development and functioning of all living things.

In more technical terms, a gene is a locatable region of genomic sequence, corresponding to a unit of inheritance, and is associated with regulatory regions, transcribed regions and/or other functional sequence regions. The physical development and phenotype of organisms can be thought of as a product of genes interacting with each other and with the environment. A concise definition of a gene, taking into account complex patterns of regulation and transcription, genic conservation and non-coding RNA genes, has been proposed by Gerstein et al.: "A gene is a union of genomic sequences encoding a coherent set of potentially overlapping functional products".

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