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Refers to genes that are transcribed in an ongoing manner, with control limited to that directly associated with the metabolic state of the organism.
Constitutively expressed genes, that is, are always "on". Even given constitutive expression, however, it is still possible for an organism that is not metabolizing to not express those genes. Contrast inducible as well as repressible or, indeed, facultative genes.
Note that constitutively expressed genes often are housekeeping genes, that is, playing basic as well as continuously applicable roles in metabolism. Just because a gene is always expressed, however, does not mean that the level of its expression, including post-transcriptionally or post-translationally, cannot be modified.
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