Genetics

Researchers find gene for urethral obstruction

Even before birth, an obstructed urethra can cause a variety of issues in the unborn child, ranging from mild urinary problems to kidney failure. This highly variable disease is called LUTO (lower urinary tract obstruction). ...

Genetics

How lifestyle affects our genes

In the past decade, knowledge of how lifestyle affects our genes, a research field called epigenetics, has grown exponentially. Researchers at Lund University have summarised the state of scientific knowledge within epigenetics ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Risk of congenital Zika syndrome greater than previously thought

Zika virus infection during pregnancy was first linked to birth defects during the outbreak in the Americas in 2015 and 2016; however, the Zika virus was discovered decades ago. Why then were adverse outcomes during pregnancy ...

Medical research

Discovery aids search for cancer biomarkers

A report by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center has shattered conventional wisdom about how cells, including cancer cells, shed DNA into the bloodstream: they don't do it by packaging the genetic material ...

Obstetrics & gynaecology

Mother of 3-DNA baby praises new fertility treatment

The Greek mother of the first baby born using DNA from three people on Friday praised the revolutionary technique that helped her conceive—and thanked the mystery woman who donated her egg.

Genetics

Three-person baby born in medical 'revolution'

A team of Greek and Spanish doctors announced Thursday the birth of a baby using DNA from three people after a controversial fertility treatment that has provoked intense ethical debate.

Medical research

Creating blood vessels on demand

When organs or tissues are damaged, new blood vessels must form as they play a vital role in bringing nutrients and eliminating waste and it is necessary for organs and tissues to regain their normal function. At present, ...

Medical research

Stabilizing ends of chromosomes could treat age-related disease

A study led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine has uncovered a new strategy that can potentially treat age-related disease and decline. The study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, demonstrates that shortening ...

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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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