Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Gene

Basic unit of the Mendelian inheritance responsible for a certain physical character or biological function, and located in one of the linkage groups comprising a chromatid. A gene is an ultra-microscopic structure consisting of DNA, and capable under certain circumstances of giving rise to a new character; such a change is called a mutation. Hereditary traits are controlled by two genes, each at the same position on a homologous pair of chromosomes. Organisms may possess thousands of genes. Homo sapiens has been estimated to have between 30 000 and 100 000 genes. A gene is a continuous region of DNA consisting of one or more transcription units; the particular sequence of nucleotides represents a functional unit of inheritance.

See exon, intron, and cistron.

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From "Dictionary of Nursing and Individual Health Care"