A gene is a general term for a segment of DNA that carries genetic information.

Genes can serve different functions. While some genes are involved in encoding proteins (protein-coding genes), others have regulatory functions, control the expression of other genes, or produce functional RNA molecules.

Living beings depend on genes, as they specify all proteins and functional RNA chains. Genes hold the information to build and maintain an organism's cells and pass genetic traits to offspring. All organisms have genes corresponding to various biological traits, some of which are instantly visible, such as eye color or number of limbs, and some of which are not, such as blood type, increased risk for specific diseases, or the thousands of basic biochemical processes that comprise life. The word gene is derived from the Greek word genesis meaning “birth”, or genos meaning “origin” (see pangenesis).

Biological organisms contain genetic material that is used to control their function and development. This is DNA which contains units named genes that can produce proteins through a code (genetic code) in which a series of triplets (codons) of four possible nucleotides are translated into one of twenty possible amino acids. A sequence of codons results in a corresponding sequence of amino acids that form a protein.

see Gene mutation.

see Suicide gene

see Tumor suppressor gene.

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