General Question

LostInParadise's avatar

How closely related are the genes on a single chromosome?

Asked by LostInParadise (18334 points ) January 5th, 2014

For example, are all the genes related to vision on a single chromosome? People are always focusing on individual genes, but the chromosome is the unit of inheritance. Might it be that some of an organism’s characteristics are determined by a combination of genes? If these genes are all on a single pair of chromosomes, wouldn’t it make sense in genetic engineering to swap an entire chromosome?

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6 Answers

Bill1939's avatar

I doubt that a lone gene determines a trait or characteristic. As you suggest, a number of select genes, using information transferred by proteins, express or repress traits. Some of the select may be influenced by other genes that the environment activates, and in this way traits are dependent upon both genetic codes and the physical reality. If we knew that a specific gene, either failing to be expressed or being prematurely expressed, resulted in undesirable circumstances, and we were able to replace that gene, why swap chromosomes?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Genes are widely distributed across the 23 chromosomes. Between genes which are meaningful sequences of that code for the production of one of various types of proteins. Some are enzymes while some contribute to the formation of structures. Between the genes are what seems to be junk sequences. Our phenotype (how we are formed and how our bodies function) are influenced by many genes that are rarely near each other on the same chromosome and are often on entirely different chromosomes. (I worked as a post-doctoral research consultant in human genetics and medical genetics for over 12 years).

LostInParadise's avatar

Thanks. I am truly amazed by what has been discovered by geneticists. It would be difficult enough if everything was on a macroscopic level – figuring out not only the sequencing but also the 3 dimensional shape of the molecules and how they interact.

While I have your attention, do geneticists have any idea of how new genes enter the genome? I can conceptualize mutation of existing genes, but how do you get a pair of new genes on a pair of chromosomes and how does the pair of genes manage to act in tandem?

RocketGuy's avatar

My biochemist friend told me about how Evolutionary Biologists are able to track divergences in evolution through DNA studies. Blew me away because I thought you could only track evolution through fossil records (dead things). So evidence is available in CURRENTLY living organisms too.

pleiades's avatar

It’s important to first understand what a Chromosome is and also the function and storage of DNA

Bill1939's avatar

Some long held conclusions concerning the evolution of species based upon the study of fossils have been overturned by the comparison of DNA and associated proteins sequenced on chromosomes.

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