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Genome BasicsGenome Basics

GenomicsThe study of genes and their functions is changing the face of biology and giving scientists the tools to crack the code of life. So what the heck is a genomeAll the genetic material in the chromosomes of an organism, whether animal, plant, or microbe anyway? It is a tiny little blueprint that contains all the information an organismAny living being capable of reproduction, growth, and maintenance needs in order to live. This set of instructions tells a plant (or animal) how to grow, what color it is, what shape it is... Everything it needs to live!

The genome consists of long, ladder-like molecules of DNADeoxyribonucleic acid; The ladder-like molecule that encodes genetic information, in the form of a double helix held together by bonds between base pairs. The rungs of the ladder are called "base pairsThe pairs of nucleotides or chemical bases that connect to make the rungs inside the DNA molecule’s ladder-like structure" and a genome has hundreds of millions (even billions) of them. The base pairs are grouped into genes, which give instructions for the organism to function. The genes are grouped together on their DNA strands inside chromosomes. Altogether, they make up a genome.

Scientists are busy making complete maps of different plant genomes, but what does that mean for us? What will we be able to do with all that information? Play the video to learn why scientists think genomics will change the way we live.