Students sometimes use the terms gene and DNA as synonyms but they don’t really mean the same thing and in fact, they are different things. Do you want to know what are the differences between genes and DNA? Well, read on.
Differences between DNA and genes
DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid, a complex protein (it is made up of smaller proteins called nucleotides) that is found in the nucleus of cells and is the main ingredient in the genetic material of living things.
DNA is organized into chromosomes. Each human cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes (that is, 46 chromosomes in total), one from the mother and one from the person’s father.
Genes are parts of DNA, nucleotide sequences that carry instructions for the manufacture of proteins. A multitude of proteins are synthesized in our organism, each with a different function, and through them genes, define the fundamental traits that are inherited from their parents.
For example, if you have thought of the human body like a book, genes would be the chapter that contains the instructions to make proteins and help in the production of cells. The other chapters may contain other details such as when cells should start producing new proteins, etc.
As we have said all the DNA in a human body is packaged in the form of chromosomes. Each of these chromosomes has defined characters that will determine a particular trait. This includes details such as hair color or eye color. Each of these chapters that contain the codes for a particular feature is known as a gene. Therefore, if it seems confusing to you, you only have to think of the gene as a small piece of total DNA that contains information about a particular trait.
Both DNA and genes are the basic building blocks of the body. They determine how cells will behave throughout their lives.
- Genes are a part of DNA.
- Genes determine the traits that are inherited from their parents, DNA determines much more (although we are far from knowing all the functions of the part of the DNA that are not genes).
- Genes have been studied for a long time. The study of DNA is relatively recent.
These are the main differences between genes and DNA, don’t forget them.
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