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Complexity of eukaryotic gene expression

The control of eukaryotic gene expression is more complicated than the control of prokaryotic gene expression.

There are several reasons for this:

  • The eukaryotic genome is larger than the prokaryotic genome and therefore involves the transcription of a larger number of genes.
  • The eukaryotic genome contains long stretches of non-coding DNA between genes, meaning that the genes are more spread out. This means each gene must be expressed individually.
  • The eukaryotic genome contains non-coding DNA within genes, which needs to be removes by a process called splicing before the genes are expressed.
  • Eukaryotes are often multicellular, so different genes need to be expressed in different cell types.
  • Cell compartmentalisation: gene expression takes place in different parts of the cell. Transcription takes place in the nucleus, while translation takes place in the cytoplasm.

    Control mechanisms are required to aid the transition between locations.