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Understanding how the genes actually work

  1. May 2, 2011 #1
    I have understood that one gene on the chromosome is coding for one special proteine (RNA), but a gene is also deciding which qualities we get. Is my human qualities based on genes or proteines? Is it the same thing, or is it two very different things?

    I asked the teacher and he said that our qualities can not work if we are lacking important proteines, for example that I need some specific proteines to have a good concentration, run fast etc. This may be true, but this is quantitative qualities and I am _very_ that this is not true if we are speaking about qualitative qualities such as eyecolor.

    Thanks for answering :)

    This is first year in highschool btw.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. May 6, 2011 #2
    Okay, so here is a simplified flow of information.

    1) DNA acts like a template, and it stays in the nucleus.

    2) mRNA (messenger RNA) takes a specific sequence and transfers it to a ribosome (located outside the nucleus).

    3) tRNA and mRNA then work with the ribosome to sort of cobble together a polypeptide (amino acid)

    4) the 20 amino acids that this process can form combine to make all the variety of proteins in your body.

    So the answer to your question is both, sort of. Genes are the template that tells your cells what qualities you possess, and proteins help with the expression of phenotypes.

    As for the second part, all qualities are determined by your genes and your teacher is correct. You need to synthesize proteins and such for qualities to work. However, keep in mind that we don't ALWAYS need to synthesize these proteins because of gene expression. A good example of this is the brain in the latter stages of life, where neurons cease to grow.

    Also, eye color is controlled by the same things that create proteins. It is a polygenic (meaning its controlled by multiple genes), and the protein primarily associated with it is melanin (a pigment). However running isn't necessarily controlled by your genes alone, since things like that are multifactorial (also controlled by the environment).

    Genetics is a vast and complicated field of study, and its hard to pinpoint the causes behind each quality since there are so many factors that can be influences. But that's the gist of it, sort of. I hope that made sense!
  4. May 6, 2011 #3
    Yes, it did. :) Thanks!
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