Understanding what genes are and how changes in genes may affect the body can help you on the journey to diagnosis and treatment of a genetic disease.
Genes are part of our DNA, the basic genetic material found in each of our body's cells. Cells are the building blocks of all living things and specialized cells form our body's organs and tissues. DNA is found in the nucleus of a cell and, in humans, is packaged into 23 pairs of chromosomes with the help of special proteins.
Each gene performs a different job in our cells. Some genes serve as the instructions to make proteins. Proteins are needed for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's cells, tissues, and organs. Some genes can turn other genes on or off. Others make RNA molecules that are involved in chemical reactions in the body.
Sources to Learn More: What Is a Gene? (MedlinePlus)
; What Are Proteins and What Do They Do? (MedlinePlus)