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Gene Regulation Using the Lac Operon Abstract Gene regulation in cells has been studied extensively in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms Gene control is employed as a way of saving the cell energy by only producing those enzymes it needs In eukaryotes genes are regulated so as maintain levels of cell specificity In this experiment the restriction of the production of the -galactosidase enzyme in the prokaryote Escherichia coli can be achieved by employing the lac operon This operon is controlled by the presence or absence of lactose in the medium Six different media were prepared and incubated in 20-minute increments for 100 minutes At each interval a small amount of sample was removed and tested for enzyme activity and growth as dictated by optical density The results were plotted graphically and the outcome for each culture was compared with the outcome expected according to the medium type Based on the results the regulation of -galactosidase production in varied media by the lac operon was successfully achieved Introduction In prokaryotic organisms structural genes are organized in clusters that are controlled from a single regulatory site The lac operon the gene cluster involved in the metabolism of lactose in Ecoli has been studied over and over again and provides a model for the study of gene regulation The metabolism of lactose calls for two enzymes Permease aiding in the transport of lactose into the cell and -galactosidase in charge of cleaving lactose to produce glucose and galactose are encoded by two consecutive genes Z and Y respectively Although not required for the metabolism a third gene gene A codes for the enzyme transacetylase All three of these genes are transcribed onto a strand of mRNA termed polycistronic multi-gene By regulating the production of this mRNA the synthesis of the Z Y and A genes can be controlled An additional gene the I gene is located near the A Z and
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