What Makes A Gene?

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What is a gene? The definition of what constitutes a gene has developed throughout history in light of new research and information. In generic terms, a gene is part of a living organism having influence on observable and non-observable characteristics by transfer of genetic information from parent to offspring. The structure of a gene is widely accepted as a sequence of nucleotides consisting of four bases Adenine, Cytosine, Thymine and Guanine. Three bases together determine an amino acid and the sequence of amino acids determine which proteins are formed. A gene does not only determine which functional proteins are produced, it also contains elements involved in regulation and expression of genes, and areas with no apparent function such as retro-transposons and pseudogenes. This has lead to discrepancies in definitions of its constituents. History The development of what constitutes as a gene began with the experiments by Gregor Mendel in 1865 identifying the process of heredity to determine trait variation. Crossing and breading of the pea plants led to the discovery of dominant and recessive traits, heterozygotic and homozygotic inheritance, and the relationship between the genotype and phenotype of an individual. His experiments challenged the previous hypothesis that characteristics were inherited from parents and blended to result in the observed characteristic. (Mendel, 1866) In light of Mendel’s paper, Wilhelm Johannsen coined the name ‘Gene’ in 1909,
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