Operon - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Genetics

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The Discovery of Operons

French scientists Jacques Monod and François Jacob first coined the term "operon" in a short paper published in 1960 in the Proceedings of the French Academy of Sciences. They elaborated the concept of the operon in several papers that appeared in 1961, based on their studies on the lac genes (genes for the metabolism of lactose sugar) of the bacterium Escherichia coli and the genes of bacteriophage lambda. Monod and Jacob received the Nobel Prize in 1985 for this work.

Figure 1. The lac operon. A single straight line signifies the double-stranded DNA molecule. The lac operon includes genes and control elements which are needed for metabolism of lactose. Figure 1. The lac operon. A single straight line signifies the double-stranded DNA molecule. The lac operon includes genes and control elements which are needed for metabolism of lactose.

Typical Features of Operons

The genes of an operon are usually functionally related. Genes are the basic unit of biological information, and consist of specific segments of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The segments of DNA that constitute a gene...

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This section contains 1,389 words
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Macmillan Science Library: Genetics
Operon 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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