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Name: Ruth
Status: Student
Grade:  9-12
Location: CA
Country: United States
Date: June 2006

Why do cells control gene expression?

If cells were not able to regulate gene expression, then all cells would be identical. In othere words, there would be no cell differentiation. The reason single cell organisms have mechanisms to control gene expression is that it makes them more metabolically efficient. If, for example, there is no lactose in their environment, they don't bother to synthesize the enzymes necessary to breakdown lactose into glucose and galactose. They do this by shutting down expression of the lactose metaolizing gene. Look up lactose operon to learn how this gene expression mechanism works.

Ron Baker, Ph.D.

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