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

Five rhinos resettled in Rwanda from Czech zoo

Five critically endangered eastern black rhinos were on Monday successfully relocated to Rwanda's Akagera National Park after a long journey from the Czech Republic, park officials said.

How bacteria protect themselves from plasma treatment

Plasmas are created from gas that is pumped with energy. Today, plasmas are already used against multi-resistant pathogens in clinical applications, for example to treat chronic wounds. "Plasmas provide a complex cocktail ...

Stressed sheep fleeced for their genes

Genetics play a large factor in determining the temperament of sheep and how they react to stress, a study carried out by The University of Western Australia has found.

Virus genes help determine if pea aphids get their wings

Many of an organism's traits are influenced by cues from the organism's environment. These features are known as phenotypically plastic traits and are important in allowing an organism to cope with unpredictable environments.

Research uncovers elusive process essential to plant greening

Despite how essential plants are for life on Earth, little is known about how parts of plant cells orchestrate growth and greening. By creating mutant plants, UC Riverside researchers have uncovered a cellular communication ...

Researchers identify the source of asymmetry in RNA-DNA hybrids

A study headed by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and published in the journal CHEM furthers the understanding of the asymmetry between nucleic acid hybrids. This advance may make a significant contribution ...

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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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