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What do you call the chemical factors that determine traits?

A:

Quick Answer

The chemical factors that determine traits are called genes. With the exception of less than 1 percent of genes, the rest of the genes in people are the same.

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The specific genes, which are different from one person to another and give each person special physical features, are named alleles. Each person carries a copy of genes from each parent. Made of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) bases, a gene can carry a couple of hundred to over two million DNA bases.

Since DNA has stored chemical information, a gene carries coded instructions for a specific protein or for performing a specific function. Each person is said to have 20,000 to 25,000 genes, according to the Human Genome Project.

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