The human genom - how is it distributed?

Chris Boyd chrisb at
Tue Apr 1 07:11:40 EST 1997

William Tivol (tivol at wrote:
: Robert Lachmann (rolach at wrote:
: : I am having an arguement with a friend of mine about how the human genes
: : are distributed on the DNA.That is, whether the human genes are
: : distributed on both DNA strands or just on one.

: Dear Robert,
: 	The genes are located on the "sense" strand.  The "anti-sense"
: strand is not translated.  There are, of course, both sense and anti-
: sense strands on each chromosome (maternal & paternal), giving (usually)
: two copies of each gene per genome.
: 				Yours,
: 				Bill Tivol

No, this is not true (or at best very unclear).  Each strand of a human
chromosome encodes many genes.  It is the orientation of the gene's
promoter that determines the direction of transcription (and hence
which strand is transcribed) for any particular gene.  There are even
cases of a single stretch of chromosome encoding one gene on one strand
and a distinct, overlapping gene on the other.

Best wishes,
Chris Boyd                       | from, | MRC Human Genetics Unit
chrisb at             |  not  |  Western General Hospital |   for |   Edinburgh EH4 2XU, SCOTLAND

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