There are an estimated 30,000 - 70,000 genes in the human genome. Contained in these genes are instructions for the entire workings of the human body.
Individual genes are little more than templates for constructing enzymes from amino acids. These enzymes are used to carry out functions in the body.
Variations on genes are known as alleles. Because of changes in the genetic code caused by mutations, there are often more than one type of gene in the gene pool. For example, there is a specific gene to determine a person's blood type. Therefore, a person with blood type A will have a different version of that gene than a person with blood type B.
Some genes work in tandem with each other. For example, the Hox genes are used to control development of the embryo. Scientists discovered that by altering Hox genes in fruit flies, entirely new body types could be created.
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