What is a Gene, Heres the answer!

Eric Cabot ecec at quads.uchicago.edu
Tue Feb 22 13:37:35 EST 1994

Many of the definitions given for a gene within this thread really
are variations of the same definition. I'd like to submit, for
your discussing pleasure, a viewpoint expoused by the "classic"
genetics textbook written by Srb, Owen and Edgar.
I'd like to state at the outset, however, that I'm not trying to
negate any of the interesting prior comments on transcription units
versus genes, rather I'm just trying to present a broader view of  
the gene concept.
In the SOE view, a gene is defined by the means that one uses to detect
it. Thus genes determined by recombinational analysis are 
"recons" and may not necessarily equate to genes illuminated by mutational
analysis ("mutons").  Similarly, recons and  mutons 
might not correspond to "cistrons", the things that code for polypeptides, etc.

This seems to make some sense because the gene concept becomes dependent 
on the context in which it is used.  If you are mapping genes by mutagenesis,
you really can't talk about transcription units.  

Eric Cabot

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