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The minimal unit of heredity.


Greek genos- birth term coined by Wilhelm Johannsen in his 1909 book Elemente der exakten Erblichkeitslehre after William Bateson in 1905 had used the word genetics in a letter to describe the study of heredity. Charles Darwin's hypothetical pangenesis mechanism for heredity had resulted in the term pangene but the 1900 rediscovery of Mendel's work by DeVries, Correns and Tschermak, destroying Darwin's hypothesis made this term inappropriate.

Gene is also often used interchangeably with allele an isoform of a gene as a locus on a chromosome. As far as the Dawkinsite view of evolution goes this is entirely logical. There are also some genes in the mitochondria.

See also

As well as the data segments of genes there are control segments, understanding of which is currently incomplete. In earth biology it is an ordered sequence of nucleotides that encodes a specific biologically active product. In man it is comprised of DNA nucleotides located at a particular position on a particular chromosome unless some forms of mutation have occurred and codes for either RNA or proteins as the functional product.