Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why are non-coding genes called "genes"

  1. Feb 16, 2017 #1
    I thought that a gene by definition is a unit of heredity, so a portion of DNA that doesnt code for anything wouldnt be a unit of heredity and therefore shouldnt really be called a gene, no? Also if current estimates for protein coding genes in human genome is about 20000, how many total genes are there in human genome?
    thanks for any help
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2017 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Genes don't have to code for any thing to be a gene.
    Gene is a term that has been used since before DNA was understood. It has been used to designate any inheritable trait.

    Non-coding control sequences can be found as mutations (and therefore considered a gene) even though they do not code for proteins or RNA transcripts.
    They could be binding sites for proteins which could control transcribing of a neighboring coding sequence.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted

Similar Discussions: Why are non-coding genes called "genes"
  1. Non viral gene therapy (Replies: 1)

  2. Genes coding for cells? (Replies: 10)