Sequence analysis:

Deciphering genetic information

A DNA sequence can be compared to a zipper. The "teeth" of the zipper are the bases: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T).

Genetic information found in DNA is encoded into the sequence of these four bases ("letters"), while the genes are the "words" that must be decoded.

The sequence of letters alone is not enough information to understand the genome. Unless a starting point of a gene is identified, the beginning of a "word", or gene, cannot be identified in the long and continuous series of letters.

But even if the starting and ending point of a gene are known, the sequence alone says nothing about the function of the gene. Often, the function of a gene sequence can be inferred by comparing it with databases containing the sequences of known genes from various organisms. This approach is often used to deduce the function of unknown genes.

Nevertheless, understanding the functions of and interactions between individual gene products within some metabolic processes remains preliminary and limited.


Glossary

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