noun, plural: genes

(cell and molecular biology)

The fundamental, physical, and functional unit of heredity.


It is because a gene is a segment of DNA (on a specific site on a chromosome) that is responsible for the physical and inheritable characteristics or phenotype of an organism. It also specifies the structure of a protein, and an RNA molecule.

A gene is formerly called a factor.

Word origin: German Gen, from gen-, begetting, in Greek words (such as genos, race, offspring).
Derived forms: genetic (adjective).
Synonym: factor (obsolete).
See also: DNA, allele, recessive, dominant.

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