Introduction to Genetic Analysis 6

Introduction to Genetic Analysis 6 - 44200_01_p1-26 3/2/04...

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5 1.1 Genes as determinants of the inherent properties of species proteins an organism can synthesize, as well as the tim- ing and amount of production of each protein, is an ex- tremely important determinant of the structure and physiology of organisms. A protein generally has one of two basic functions, depending on the gene. First, the protein may be a structural component, contributing to the physical properties of cells or organisms. Examples of structural proteins are microtubule, muscle, and hair proteins. Second, the protein may be an active agent in cellular processes—such as an active-transport protein or an enzyme that catalyzes one of the chemical reac- tions of the cell. The primary structure of a protein is a linear chain of amino acids, called a polypeptide. The sequence of amino acids in the primary chain is speci±ed by the se- quence of nucleotides in the gene. The completed pri- mary chain is coiled and folded—and in some cases, as- sociated with other chains or small molecules—to form a functional protein. A given amino acid sequence may
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