Development, Genetic Control Of - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Genetics

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The Importance of Transcription Factors

With few exceptions, every cell in a multicellular organism contains the same set of genes as every other cell. Despite this genetic equivalence, cells differ greatly in form, function, longevity, and many other characteristics. These differences are due to the differential expression of genes within each cell type. Thus, a nerve cell will express a certain subset of the entire genome, while a gut cell will express a different subset. (To express a gene means to use it to create its encoded product, usually a protein.) Cells become different from one another, therefore, by expressing different sets of genes. Thus, the problem of development can be addressed by understanding how initially identical cells come to express different sets of genes.

The beginning of the answer to this question lies in understanding gene transcription and transcription factors. Transcription is the process in...

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This section contains 2,079 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)
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Macmillan Science Library: Genetics
Development, Genetic Control Of from Macmillan Science Library: Genetics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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