Related topics: genes · cells · genome · dna · chromosomes

How mammoth poop contributes to antibiotics research

Ph.D. student Doris van Bergeijk brought 40,000-year-old bacteria from mammoth poop back to life. She hopes to find new information that can help research at the Institute of Biology Leiden into antibiotics and antibiotics ...

Better biosensor technology created for stem cells

A Rutgers-led team has created better biosensor technology that may help lead to safe stem cell therapies for treating Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and other neurological disorders.

Genetics reveal Pacific subspecies of fin whale

New genetic research has identified fin whales in the northern Pacific Ocean as a separate subspecies, reflecting a revolution in marine mammal taxonomy as scientists unravel the genetics of enormous animals otherwise too ...

120-year-old extinct lizard specimen revealed by mitochondrial DNA

Together with a Ukrainian colleague, Senckenberg researchers examined the 120-year-old specimen of a "Crimean lizard." Until now, these animals had been considered a species of green lizard restricted to the Crimean Peninsula. ...

Fruit flies help in the development of personalized medicine

People with the same diagnosis typically receive a standard treatment that is not necessarily effective for everyone. With knowledge of the individual patient's genome, it may be possible in the future to a greater extent ...

New DNA amplification capsule holds promise for fighting diseases

DNA amplification—a molecular "photocopying" technique where genetic material is replicated—has many applications in scientific research, forensic science, and medical laboratories. It is useful for detecting and identifying ...

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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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