Chromosomal Organization of Genes and Noncoding DNA

Having reviewed the relation between transcription units and genes, we now consider the organization of genes on chromosomes and the relationship of noncoding DNA sequences to coding sequences.

Genomes of Many Organisms Contain Much Nonfunctional DNA

Comparisons of the total chromosomal DNA per cell in various species first suggested that much of the DNA in certain organisms does not encode RNA or have any apparent regulatory or structural function. For example, yeasts, fruit flies, chickens, and humans have successively more DNA in their haploid chromosome sets (12; 180; 1300; and 3300 Mb, respectively), in keeping with what we perceive to be the increasing complexity of these organisms. Yet the vertebrates with the greatest amount of DNA per cell are amphibians, which are surely less complex than humans in their structure and behavior. Even more surprising, the unicellular pro-tozoal species Amoeba dubia has 200 times more DNA per cell than humans. Many plant species also have considerably more DNA per cell than humans have. For example, tulips have 10 times as much DNA per cell as humans. The DNA content per cell also varies considerably between closely related species. All insects or all amphibians would appear to be similarly complex, but the amount of haploid DNA in

(a) Human | -globin gene cluster (chromosome 11)

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