Image for Gene expression analysis
Gene expression analysis

Related Terms

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Background

  • Researchers use gene expression analysis to study how much of a particular gene is produced by a cell. Genes are considered the building blocks of cells because they provide instructions for making all proteins in the body. Although all cells in the human body contain the same DNA, cell types vary widely. For example, a skin cell is different from a brain cell in how it looks and what it does. Many of the differences among cells are not due to differences in the cellular DNA, but rather to differences in the amount and types of genes that the cell produces.
  • Cells produce genes by making RNA (ribonucleic acid) from DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and then converting the RNA into proteins. Each gene produces its own unique RNA. A gene is expressed if RNA for that gene is found in a cell. Measuring the amount of different RNAs in a cell can tell researchers how much of each gene is produced by that cell. A mutation is a change in the sequence of a gene, and it can affect how a protein functions.
  • DNA is located in a compartment of the cell called the nucleus and is packaged in structures called chromosomes. Human cells contain 46 chromosomes, including 22 pairs of autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes (XX in females; XY in males), and each chromosome has hundreds of genes. Genes contain the instructions for making the proteins that perform all the functions in the human body. Chromosomes also contain many other regulatory sequences that control how much of a gene will be made, when it will be made, and where in the body it will be made.
  • DNA contains four different chemical compounds called bases: cytosine, thymine, guanine, and adenine. In any given person, these bases are found in a particular order along the chromosomes, and it is the order of these bases that stores information for making genes. Even though the DNA sequences of different people are similar (on average, DNA is about 99.9% identical between two people), differences in DNA between people are important. Similar to DNA, RNA also contains chemical compounds called bases.
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Methods

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Research

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Implications

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Limitations

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Safety

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Future Research

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.