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3.8 Control of gene expression

  • Cells are able to control their metabolic activities by regulating the transcription and translation of their genome. Although the cells within an organism carry the same coded genetic information, they translate only part of it. In multicellular organisms, this control of translation enables cells to have specialised functions, forming tissues and organs.
  • There are many factors that control the expression of genes and, thus, the phenotype of organisms. Some are external, environmental factors, others are internal factors. The expression of genes is not as simple as once thought, with epigenetic regulation of transcription being increasingly recognised as important.
  • Humans are learning how to control the expression of genes by altering the epigenome, and how to alter genomes and proteomes of organisms. This has many medical and technological applications.
  • Consideration of cellular control mechanisms underpins the content of this section. Students who have studied it should develop an understanding of the ways in which organisms and cells control their activities. This should lead to an appreciation of common ailments resulting from a breakdown of these control mechanisms and the use of DNA technology in the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.

Source: AQA Spec

Included in this download

3.8.1Alteration of the sequence of bases in DNA can alter the structure of proteins
3.8.2Gene expression is controlled by a number of features
3.8.3Using genome project
3.8.4Gene technologies allow the study and alteration of gene function allowing a better understanding of organism function and the design of new industrial and medical processes