What is a Gene, Heres the answer!

RICHARD P. PHIPPS PHIP at BPHVAX.BIOPHYSICS.ROCHESTER.EDU
Mon Feb 21 11:02:29 EST 1994


In <1994Feb21.121336.4363 at reks.uia.ac.be> przemko at reks.uia.ac.be writes:

> In article <2k8bfv$n18 at usenet.INS.CWRU.Edu> ef949 at cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Mark Petrie) writes:
> >
> >hi i couldnt help but notice all the many posts
> >on the topic what is a gene, and what is life. Let me
> >first say that im still a student of biology, but hope to
> >join the ranks of a Phd canidate soon.. I recall from my notes
> >in biology as the definition of a gene to be "Any unit of
> >instruction for heritable traits. It is a linear sequence of
> >nucleotides that call for the assembly of a sequence of specific
> >amino acids into a polypeptide chain" 
> >I think thats a pretty acurate descrition, and I dont believe
> >there any any exeptions to my definition.
> >                                                       Mark:)
> 
> except, perhaps, for the genes coding for tRNA and rRNA. Can't see
> polypeptides there. Ah, and pseudogenes? Ah, another one, how about
> viral genes that, from the same (well, almost) piece od DNA get you
> different proteins depending on the frameshift.
> Przemko
> 
Absolutely.  There are many genes that do not lead to a protein product,
ribozymes in addition to those Przemko has listed above.  I also must add the
point I made before; that all cis-acting sequences (promotors, enhancers)
should be included in the definition of a gene as well as the actual coding
sequence.  Looking back to the notes from my Eucaryotic Genome class, I found
what I think is a great definition.  Hope my Professor doesn't mind:

     A gene is defined as all of the cis-acting nucleic acid
     sequences required for the production of a functional RNA.

                                             -M. Gorovsky

How about that?

Rick Willis



More information about the Bioforum mailing list