Genes are the building blocks of all living things, noting that they basic unit of any heritable trait to be passed onto an offspring. A gene codes for the production of a specific protein. The actual size of a gene can vary greatly; it is estimated that a gene can contain anywhere from 100 to 2 million DNA bases. Additionally, scientists have also estimated that the human genome can contain anywhere from 20,000 to 25,000 genes.
During fertilization, one copy of a gene is passed to an offspring from each parent, giving the child two copies of a specific gene total. For the most part, the majority of people have the exact same genes present in their bodies, with the potential to be activated (turned on or off); however, it is the activated genes that account for genetic variation between people, as well as the possible 1% of different genes people possess. Additionally, variances in alleles, a copy of a gene with minor differences in their base DNA sequences, also contribute to a person’s unique phenotype (physical appearance).
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