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Is there a term I can use to refer collectively to both exons and introns? By collectively, I don't mean ligated as with an unprocessed transcription product. I'm just writing about exons and introns and getting frustrated that I keep on having to write "exons and introns", wishing there was a more concise term I can use in the place of that phrase.

For example, the term I am looking for would fill in the following blank perfectly.

The gene has 5 exons and 4 introns, so it has 9 _____.

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uh...a sequence!? a gene sequence? a sequence that get transcribed. I personnaly don't know any other word for that. –  Remi.b Jul 31 '13 at 17:36
Could you clarify the context? If on single RNA molecule you could say pre-mRNA or hnRNA, or in general "the transcript." –  Amory Jul 31 '13 at 17:36
You should be aware that if you refer to "splicing fragments" with no explanation, I doubt you will be understood. With no context, I would assume you were talking about excised introns. –  terdon Aug 1 '13 at 16:55
sorry for the late comment.. Instead of this you can say that the gene has 8 splice junctions- I guess it is more precise. –  WYSIWYG Jul 1 at 9:23

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

How about "splicing fragments"? It might be easier to refer to them according to the mechanism of production.

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What of single exon genes with no introns and, therefore, no splicing? –  terdon Jul 31 '13 at 19:23
Are they really exons with no introns? If there are no introns at all, it's just a transcript, or a coding sequence. –  Jeremy Kemball Jul 31 '13 at 19:56
There are certainly single exon genes, yes. I am not 100% sure that they also have no introns but I would imagine so since splicing always joins two ends of a sequence excising what is in between. –  terdon Jul 31 '13 at 19:58
There are definitely no-intron genes, that's usually one of the hallmarks of a former virus that was integrated into the genome. –  Amory Jul 31 '13 at 21:58
Yes, they are exons because they are translated into amino acids. Given that the species in question has splicing, anything that is translated is an exon by definition. In species that lack splicing, all genes are single exon genes and you could call them exons but that might be semantic trickery indeed. In species with splicing however, things are quite clear cut, translated? therefore exon. –  terdon Aug 1 '13 at 16:54

I think your best bet would be transcript. Gene is actually quite close but most of the current definitions include the promoter sequence in the gene so that is not restricted to introns and exons.

Transcripts, on the other hand, are all of a gene's sequence that is transcribed and consist exclusively of introns and exons (UTRs are also exons and are actually spliced in some cases). Note that I am using transcript and not mRNA since mature mRNAs do not of course contain introns. Immature ones do and transcript can apply.

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This isn't the word I'm looking for. The word I'm looking for will fill in the following blank: "The gene has 5 exons and 4 introns, so it has 9 ____". Splicing fragments is the best answer so far, I was just hoping there was a more concise term for it. –  Daniel Standage Aug 1 '13 at 1:53

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