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Genes and Gene Products

Genes and Gene Products Genes are the material substance that is passed intergenerationally from parent to offspring. Genes are contained in the nucleotide sequences of DNA that are found in the nucleus of every cell in the body. The expression of a gene has one result: the production of a protein molecule. These molecular products of gene expression are essential for all aspects of development. Genes provide a template for making proteins and it is the proteins that are the active agents in biological development. Thus, while genes contain information that is essential for the development and functioning of the biological organism, genes are basically inert molecules. Genes cannot participate directly in biological processes. They do not directly create blue eyes, disease proclivity, intelligence or behavior. Rather, there is an indirect relationship between the information in a gene and a developmental outcome. The information in the gene sequences must be extracted, recoded and translated into proteins. It is the proteins that enter into the complex, interactive signaling cascades that usually involve many gene products as well as influences from the environment. A particular gene product is thus one of many essential elements that interact to support and guide the complex process of brain development.