Genetics jargon explained

In the interests of accessibility, I’m starting with a simple but brilliant metaphor for the jargon of genetics, taken from the Preface of Genome by Matt Ridley (review to come).

Genetics is written in an alphabet of four letters, called bases (the famous A, C, G and T).

These letters spell out 64 three letter words, called codons.

The words make up paragraphs, called exons.

However, some words describe adverts which interrupt the sequence of paragraphs, called introns.

One collection of paragraphs tells a story, called a gene.

The stories are collected into chapters, called chromosomes.

These chapters are gathered together in one book, called the genome.

Genome
Chromosome
Gene
Exon
Intron
Codon
Base
Book
Chapter
Story
Paragraph
Advert
Word
Letter

To refer back to this, it will be listed in the Fundamentals category.

References

Ridley, M. (2000) Genome: the autobiography of a species in 23 chapters, p.6.  4th Estate, London

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