News tagged with genes

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

Gene could hold key to treating Parkinson's disease

Researchers at King's College London have identified a new gene linked to nerve function, which could provide a treatment target for 'switching off' the gene in people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease.

Oct 19, 2015
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Transplanting from pig to human

Never before have scientists been able to make scores of simultaneous genetic edits to an organism's genome. But now, in a landmark study by George Church and his team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering ...

Oct 19, 2015
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What can we learn from nutrigenomics testing?

There is insufficient scientific evidence to support the utility of commercially available nutrigenomics tests that claim to link genetic variants to dietary intake or nutrition-related disorders. While nutrigenomics remains ...

Oct 16, 2015
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Cancer-driving signals cause high-risk neuroblastoma

Researchers have discovered details of the abnormal molecular signals and biological events that drive a high-risk form of the childhood cancer neuroblastoma. They aim to use these findings to develop more effective targeted ...

Oct 15, 2015
popularity55 comments 0


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".

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA

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