what is the difference between cistron and operon. 

A cistron is a gene or a functional unit. while as an operon is a functioning unit of genomic DNA containing a cluster of genes(Cistrons) under the control of a single regulatory signal or promoter. The genes are transcribed together first into  into an mRNA  and then translated into proteins. For example lac operon required to transport and metabolise lactose in E.coli.

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