News tagged with genes

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

Seven genes for X-linked intellectual disability

X-linked intellectual disability is a disorder that predominantly affects men and can have highly variable clinical manifestations. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin ...

Feb 13, 2015
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Genetic guides to epigenetics

Dirk Schübeler and his group at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) identify determinants that set epigenetic marks along the genome. The new study, published in Nature, shows ...

Feb 10, 2015
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A gene for brain size only found in humans

About 99 percent of human genes are shared with chimpanzees. Only the small remainder sets us apart. However, we have one important difference: The brain of humans is three times as big as the chimpanzee ...

Feb 27, 2015
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Tumor location in colorectal cancer may influence survival

The two halves of the human colon have different embryonic origins and gene expression patterns, and these differences may also play a role in cancer biology, according to a study published February 24 in the JNCI: Journal of ...

Feb 24, 2015
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Epigenome orchestrates embryonic development

The early stages of embryonic development shape our cells and tissues for life. It is during this time that our newly formed cells are transformed into heart, skin, nerve or other cell types. Scientists are finding that this ...

Feb 23, 2015
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Cancer risk linked to DNA 'wormholes'

Single-letter genetic variations within parts of the genome once dismissed as 'junk DNA' can increase cancer risk through wormhole-like effects on far-off genes, new research shows.

Feb 19, 2015
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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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