Human genes restatement raised their number to 46,831

Find out how much the genes contained in the human genetic manual, or genome, not just as scientists had thought. The very definition of the gene has changed since the Human Genome Project completed more than 15 years ago. Genes generally defined as regions of DNA that contain the instructions are copied into RNA and then transformed into proteins. Scientists still do not fully agree with that, as there are such genes encoding proteins.

Human genes restatement raised their number to 46,831

Estimates ranged from 19 901 to 21 306 - the last count, which was published on August 20 in BMC Biology.

How many human genes?

However, over the last decade, scientists have learned that not all genes produce proteins. Many scholars have expanded the definition of the gene to include the ones that make RNA, which, instead of being converted into proteins, performs other functions in the cell.

The inclusion of an RNA-producing genes (also called non-coding genes) has significantly increased the total number of genes, says Steven Salzberg, biostatistist of Johns Hopkins University, who led the new count. His team has found more such RNA genes - 25 525 18 484 including long non-coding RNA (IncRNA) genes - the protein-coding and this count does not include a miRNA genes, and other newly discovered with small RNA. Further genes encoding proteins, the human genome contains thousands of RNA genes, including transfer RNA (tRNA), ribosomal RNA, microRNA and other non-protein coding RNA sequence. Even without small RNA genes total count Salzberg human genes has led to the number of at least 46,831. Other scientists dispute this assessment, and Salzberg noted that "not surprised if in ten years, we have not come to a single number."

The number of human genes is not much greater than the number of genes in simpler organisms, such as the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans and the fly Drosophila melanogaster. This happens due to the fact that the human genome is widely represented alternative splicing. Alternative splicing allows to obtain several different protein chains from single genes. As a result, the human proteome is much greater than the considered proteomes of organisms. Most human genes have multiple exons and introns are often much longer than the boundary exons in the gene.

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