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2008 National DNA Day Online Chatroom Transcript

This is just one question from an archive of the National DNA Day Moderated Chat held in April 2008. The NHGRI Director and many genomics experts from across NHGRI took questions from students, teachers and the general public on topics ranging from basic genomic research, to the genetic basis of disease, to ethical questions about genetic privacy.

What is a gene?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: Studying developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. Surprisingly, this is not such an easy answer. Traditionally it is defined as a the basic unit of heredity or a segment of DNA needed to contribute to a function. We normally view that to mean pieces of DNA that code for proteins, but more and more discoveries have shown that there are many other kinds of "genes" in the genome and there will probably be more discovered in the future.
Kannapolis Middle School in NC (8th grade student)

< View ALL questions and answers from 2008

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