GLOSSARY: Gene Family

A Gene Family is defined as a set of several similar genes, formed by duplication of a single original gene, and generally with similar biochemical functions. One such family are the genes for human haemoglobin subunits; the ten genes are in two clusters on different chromosomes, called the a-globin and ß-globin loci. Genes are categorized into families based on shared nucleotide or protein sequences. If the genes of a gene family encode proteins, the term protein family is often used in an analogous manner to gene family.