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Genes: Types

  1. Lutz-Peter Berg1,
  2. David N Cooper2

Published Online: 23 SEP 2005

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0005016



How to Cite

Berg, L.-P. and Cooper, D. N. 2005. Genes: Types. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Science and Technology Office, Embassy of Switzerland, London, UK

  2. 2

    University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 23 SEP 2005


A gene is a segment of DNA that contains in its nucleotide sequence the information to make protein or RNA molecules. Genes are passed on from parent to offspring and therefore constitute the basic units of heredity. The human genome contains more than 30000 protein-coding genes, several thousand genes for noncoding RNA molecules and many thousands of pseudogenes – the nonfunctional by-products of gene evolution.


  • gene structure and organization;
  • protein-coding genes;
  • noncoding ribonucleic acid;
  • pseudogenes;
  • gene numbers