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indirect relationship between the information in a gene and a developmental outcome.

 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.

The Organization of the Mature Brain The human brain is arguably the most complex of all biological systems. The mature brain is composed of more than 100 billion neurons . Neurons are the information processing cells in the brain . There are many different kinds of neurons that vary in their size and shape as well as in their function. Neurons make connections with other neurons to form the information processing networks that are responsible for all of our thoughts, sensations, feelings and actions. Since each neuron can make connections with more than 1,000 other neurons, the adult brain is estimated to have more than 60 trillion neuronal connections. The point of connection between two neurons is called a synapse. The mature human brain has a characteristic pattern of folds (the sulci) and ridges (the gyri).