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Is the word "gene" a countable noun? I'm asking you this question to answer the problem below:

"Proponents argue that this particular strain is altered only by the removal of the gene responsible for the strain's propensity to cause frost damage, thereby rendering it safer than the phytopathogen from which it was derived."

Q) Is the statement below true or false?

The altered bacteria had a genetic constitution differing from that of the normal strain only in that the altered variety had one less gene.

It is confusing Because of the word "one" in the problem. If it says "gene" in the passage, does it mean one gene or could it be several genes?

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Gene is definitely a countable word, as it says in the dictionary:

gene /dʒiːn/ noun [countable]

The paragraph says the gene, so it means that there is one gene which is responsible because gene is singular, and the statement in the question says one less gene because there was one. Everything is consistent about the paragraph and the question. If there was more than one gene, they would have written the genes responsible and had fewer genes.

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  • This is the answer for sure! Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 14:23

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