MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: are there really only 40k genes in our cells?

Date: Sun Feb 25 15:36:04 2001
Posted By: Erin Cram, Post doc, Molecular Biology
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 983076122.Ge

Thanks for your question.  

Even with the Human Genome almost completely sequenced, scientists still aren't 
sure how many genes humans have.  40,000 is certainly a reasonable estimate, 
since using a computer program called "Gene Finder" , 30,000 genes were 
discovered.  You are correct that if there are 40,000 genes, there will be less 
than 40,000 proteins in any given cell in the body.  Whether that is "few" or 
not I can not answer. There are many organsims that make due with far fewer, and 
some organisms have more. I guess we'll have to wait for more science before we 
can even begin to understand the role or the necessity for so many genes.  Then 
we can ask the question, why not more?

	Erin Cram, Admin MadSci Network

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