Medical Definition of Operon

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

Operon: A set of genes transcribed under the control of an operator gene. More specifically, an operon is a segment of DNA containing adjacent genes including structural genes, an operator gene, and a regulatory gene. An operon is thus a functional unit of transcription and genetic regulation. Operons are found in many prokaryotic organisms (bacteria, viruses and some algae) and have yielded valuable insights into microbial genetics. See also: Selfish operon.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018