• Question: What is a genome?

    Asked by topquestionsfromchat to Abyssal Grenadier, Baltic clam, Brachiopod, Common starfish, Naval Shipworm, Orkney vole, Scottish Crossbill, Snake Pipefish, Twisted-wing fly on 21 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Common Starfish

      Common Starfish answered on 21 Nov 2017:


      A genome is the complete DNA sequence of an organism. So that’s a lot of letters – millions of As, Gs, Cs andTs.
      This video provides a nice explanation of what the human genome is:
      https://wellcomecollection.org/files/human-genome-books

      It cost of lot of money to sequence the human genome at the beginning of this century; now it is much cheaper. So it is possible now to determine the complete DNA sequence of the genome of any organism – a starfish, a clam, a fish or a fly – without it costing a huge amount of money. But it still requires a lot of expertise … hence we are all hoping the Sanger Institute will help us find out much, much more about the organism that we have chosen to work on for our research.

    • Photo: Abyssal Grenadier

      Abyssal Grenadier answered on 22 Nov 2017:


      A genome is the entire DNA sequence of an organism, and its size and the information it contains varies between different species. Some of the genome contains information about particular genes (information that allows species to work the way they do) and the rest of it is “Junk DNA”.

      There is a very nice TED Talk that explains what a genome is and it gives a visual representation of what the human genome looks like when it’s written out on paper. I have to say it is very impressive! (https://www.ted.com/talks/riccardo_sabatini_how_to_read_the_genome_and_build_a_human_being)

      As the Common Starfish said the cost of sequencing genomes is becoming less and less and that allows scientists to sequence more genomes. The more genomes we sequence the more we can understand about how different animals live.

    • Photo: Snake Pipefish

      Snake Pipefish answered on 22 Nov 2017:


      The genome… the genome is the whole shebang! If you imagine genes being like paragraphs in chapters, or names of characters in a collection of books (like the Harry Potter books for example), i.e. they give you some and important information but you don’t necessarily know how they all link or in which order they are organised. Then the genome is the full collection of books, the whole story, all of the genes together, the full genetic information of an organism. Does this make sense?

    • Photo: Twisted-wing Fly

      Twisted-wing Fly answered on 24 Nov 2017:


      The genome of an organism contains all the information necessary for its function and the genome if cis contained in the cell nucleus. Some organisms like humans have a large nucleus but the twisted wing fly has one of the smallest. It will be interesting to know how with such a small genome it can function as it does!

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