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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