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Gene vs. DNA: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 29, 2023
A gene is a segment of DNA that codes for a protein or function, while DNA is the molecule containing genetic information.

Key Differences

Gene and DNA are fundamental concepts in molecular biology, each representing distinct but interconnected aspects of genetic material. DNA, which stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid, is the molecule that carries the genetic instructions for the development, functioning, and reproduction of all known organisms. A gene, on the other hand, is a specific segment or sequence of this DNA molecule that codes for a particular protein or functional RNA molecule, playing a specific role in an organism's traits and functions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023
The structure of DNA consists of two long chains of nucleotides twisted into a double helix, where each nucleotide is made up of a sugar, a phosphate group, and a nitrogenous base. These bases are adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G). A gene, situated within this DNA structure, is a specific sequence of these bases that provides instructions to build molecules that the organism needs, usually proteins.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023
An organism's genome, which encompasses its entire genetic material, is composed of DNA. This DNA contains thousands to tens of thousands of genes, depending on the species. So, while DNA refers to the entirety of an organism's genetic material, a gene refers to a specific part of the DNA that holds the instructions for a particular function or trait. Therefore, genes are essentially subsections or segments of the broader DNA molecule.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023
Both DNA and genes are crucial for inheritance. When organisms reproduce, they pass on copies of their DNA, and consequently, their genes, to their offspring. While the DNA ensures the continuity of life and provides the template for the next generation, it's the genes within the DNA that carry the specific information determining traits, characteristics, and functions in the offspring. Variations in genes, occurring naturally or due to mutations, lead to the diversity in traits observed within and between species.
Sara Rehman
Oct 29, 2023
In summation, DNA is the overarching molecular structure that holds an organism's complete set of genetic instructions, while a gene is a specific portion of this DNA, responsible for coding individual traits or functions. Both concepts are integral to understanding genetics, heredity, and the molecular basis of life, with genes serving as the functional units nestled within the vast framework of DNA.
Sara Rehman
Oct 29, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Segment coding for protein or function
Molecule containing genetic information
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

Function

Carries instructions for traits
Stores and transmits genetic information
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

Location

Part of DNA
Entire genetic material
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

Structure

Varies in length
Consistent double-helix structure
Sara Rehman
Oct 29, 2023

Role in Heredity

Functional unit of heredity
Blueprint of genetic makeup
Janet White
Oct 29, 2023
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Gene and DNA Definitions

Gene

A gene is a unit of heredity.
The gene for eye color determines whether someone has blue or brown eyes.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 29, 2023

Dna

Capable of replication.
DNA replication is crucial for cell division and growth.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

Gene

A segment within DNA.
The BRCA1 gene, a segment of DNA, is linked to breast cancer risk.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

Dna

Composed of nucleotide sequences.
The sequence of nucleotides in DNA determines genetic traits.
Sara Rehman
Oct 29, 2023

Gene

Codes for proteins or traits.
The hemoglobin gene codes for the protein in red blood cells.
Janet White
Oct 29, 2023

Dna

DNA is the genetic material of cells.
DNA in a cell's nucleus carries genetic information.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 29, 2023

Gene

Subject to mutations.
A mutation in the CFTR gene causes cystic fibrosis.
Janet White
Oct 29, 2023

Dna

Has a double-helix structure.
The double-helix structure of DNA was discovered by Watson and Crick.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

Gene

Influences specific traits.
Genes can influence traits like height or hair color.
Sara Rehman
Oct 29, 2023

Dna

Makes up chromosomes.
Human DNA is packaged into 23 pairs of chromosomes.
Janet White
Oct 29, 2023

Gene

A hereditary unit consisting of a sequence of DNA that occupies a specific location on a chromosome and is transcribed into an RNA molecule that may function directly or be translated into an amino acid chain. Genes undergo mutation when their DNA sequences change.
Sumera Saeed
Jul 31, 2019

Dna

A nucleic acid that carries the genetic information in cells and some viruses, consisting of two long chains of nucleotides twisted into a double helix and joined by hydrogen bonds between the complementary bases adenine and thymine or cytosine and guanine. DNA sequences are replicated by the cell prior to cell division and may include genes, intergenic spacers, and regions that bind to regulatory proteins.
Sumera Saeed
Jul 31, 2019

FAQs

What is a gene?

A gene is a segment of DNA that encodes for a specific trait or function.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

How do genes relate to DNA?

Genes are specific sequences within the DNA.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

What is DNA?

DNA is the molecule that contains the genetic information of an organism.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 29, 2023

What shape is DNA?

DNA has a double-helix structure.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

How does DNA replicate?

DNA replicates through a process where the double helix unwinds and each strand serves as a template.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

Are all genes the same size?

No, genes vary in length.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

What are nucleotides in DNA?

Nucleotides are the building blocks of DNA, consisting of a sugar, a phosphate group, and a base.
Sara Rehman
Oct 29, 2023

Is DNA found in all cells?

Yes, DNA is found in the nucleus of all cells.
Janet White
Oct 29, 2023

What role do genes play in heredity?

Genes are the fundamental units of heredity, passing traits from parents to offspring.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

Can DNA testing reveal ancestry?

Yes, DNA testing can provide insights into a person's ancestry.
Janet White
Oct 29, 2023

Do identical twins have identical genes?

Identical twins have nearly identical genes, but small mutations can occur.
Sara Rehman
Oct 29, 2023

Is DNA the same in every cell?

Yes, every cell in an individual's body typically has the same DNA.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

Can genes be turned on or off?

Yes, gene expression can be regulated, effectively turning genes on or off.
Janet White
Oct 29, 2023

What are chromosomes made of?

Chromosomes are made of DNA.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 29, 2023

Do genes determine all traits?

Genes significantly influence traits, but environmental factors also play a role.
Harlon Moss
Oct 29, 2023

Can genes be mutated?

Yes, genes can undergo mutations, which can alter their function.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023

What is the human genome?

The human genome is the complete set of human DNA, including all genes.
Janet White
Oct 29, 2023

How is DNA organized in the cell?

DNA is organized into chromosomes within the cell nucleus.
Janet White
Oct 29, 2023

Can genes affect health?

Yes, certain genes can influence susceptibility to diseases.
Janet White
Oct 29, 2023

How many genes do humans have?

Humans have approximately 20,000-25,000 genes.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 29, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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