MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: how many copies of a single gene are present in a body and where?

Date: Tue Nov 18 07:29:24 2003
Posted By: Jeremy Cherfas, Staff, Public Awareness, IPGRI (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute)
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 1065900375.Ge

Dear Awal

Thanks for asking these questions. At one level, the answers are simple. 
In the human body there are two copies of almost every gene in almost 
every cell. These are located, as you say, on the two sister chromosomes. 
Of course that means that cells that have only one set of chromosomes, the 
sperm and egg cells, have only a single copy of each gene.

Sometimes versions of a gene may be present on other chromosomes, but 
strictly speaking these are separate genes, and they will generally be on 
both members of the pair of chromosomes.

Every gene is not present in every cell. Red blood cells, for example, 
contain no nucleus and therefore no genes.

I hope that answers your questions. You might like to look here for an introduction to very basic genetics, which might 
provide more information.

Best wishes

Jeremy Cherfas

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