Also found in: Medical.
information about the composition, structure, and nature of the exchange of substances constituting the organism (chiefly proteins and nucleic acids) and related functions that is contained in the hereditary structures of organisms (in the chromosomes, cytoplasm, cell organelles) and that is obtained from ancestors in the form of genes. In multicellular organisms with sexual reproduction, genetic information is transmitted from generation to generation through the sex cells or gametes, whose only function is to transmit and store genetic information. Microorganisms and viruses have special types of transmission of genetic information (such as transduction and transformation). Genetic information is contained chiefly in the chromosomes, where it is coded in a definite linear sequence of nucleotides in molecules of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Genetic information is realized in the course of ontogeny—development of the individual—by the transmission of genetic information from gene to character. All cells arise as a result of the division of a single original cell, the zygote, and therefore have the same set of genes and potentially the same genetic information. The specificity of the cells of different tissues is due to the fact that different genes are active in them, that is, all the genetic information is not realized, only the part required for the particular tissue to function.
IU. S. DEMIN