Which of the Following Are Correct Descriptions of a Gene?

Which of the Following Are Correct Descriptions of a Gene?


Genes are fundamental units of heredity that determine specific traits in living organisms. They are segments of DNA that contain instructions for building proteins, which are essential for the functioning of cells. However, understanding the concept of a gene can be complex, as various descriptions and definitions exist. In this article, we will explore the correct descriptions of a gene and provide answers to frequently asked questions to enhance your understanding.

1. A gene is a specific sequence of DNA:

One correct description of a gene is that it is a specific sequence of DNA. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a double-stranded molecule that carries the genetic information in all living organisms. Genes are sections of DNA that contain the instructions for building proteins or functional RNA molecules.

2. A gene codes for a specific protein:

Another accurate description of a gene is that it codes for a specific protein. Proteins are large molecules that perform numerous functions within cells, including catalyzing chemical reactions, transporting molecules, and providing structural support. Each gene contains the necessary information to produce a particular protein, which contributes to the overall characteristics and traits of an organism.

3. A gene can undergo mutations:

Genes can undergo mutations, which are alterations in their DNA sequence. These mutations can occur spontaneously or be induced by external factors such as radiation or certain chemicals. Mutations can lead to changes in the protein encoded by the gene, potentially influencing the phenotype or observable traits of an organism.

4. Genes can be inherited:

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Genes are passed down from parents to their offspring through the process of inheritance. The combination of genes inherited from both parents determines an individual’s genetic makeup, which contributes to their physical and physiological traits. Inherited genes play a crucial role in the inheritance of diseases, susceptibility to certain conditions, and various other characteristics.

5. A gene can be transcribed into RNA:

Genes can be transcribed into RNA molecules through a process called transcription. During transcription, an enzyme called RNA polymerase synthesizes a complementary RNA strand based on the DNA sequence of the gene. This RNA molecule, called messenger RNA (mRNA), carries the genetic information from the gene to the cellular machinery responsible for protein synthesis.


1. Can a gene code for multiple proteins?

Yes, a gene can code for multiple proteins. This is possible through a phenomenon known as alternative splicing, where different combinations of exons (coding regions) within a gene are included or excluded during RNA processing. This process allows the generation of multiple protein isoforms from a single gene.

2. Are all genes expressed in every cell of an organism?

No, not all genes are expressed in every cell of an organism. Different cells have specialized functions and require specific proteins for their activities. Therefore, only the genes necessary for a particular cell’s function are actively expressed, while others remain inactive or are expressed at low levels.

3. Can genes be turned on or off?

Yes, genes can be turned on or off through a process called gene regulation. Various factors, including environmental cues, developmental stages, and cellular signals, can influence the activation or suppression of gene expression. This regulation allows cells to respond to their surroundings and adjust their protein production accordingly.

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4. Are all genes shared among different species?

Many genes are shared among different species. Evolutionary processes have led to the conservation of essential genes across diverse organisms. This conservation highlights the fundamental role these genes play in maintaining life processes. However, species-specific genes also exist, contributing to the unique traits and characteristics of each organism.


Understanding the correct descriptions of a gene is crucial to comprehend the fundamental unit of heredity. A gene is a specific sequence of DNA that codes for a protein or functional RNA molecule. It can undergo mutations, be inherited, and transcribed into RNA. Additionally, the FAQs section provides further insights into gene expression, regulation, and conservation among different species. By grasping these concepts, we can appreciate the complexity and importance of genes in shaping the characteristics and traits of living organisms.

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