A Biological Singularity

John Clark (jonkc@worldnet.att.net)
Mon, 21 Sep 1998 16:27:06 -0400

Hash: SHA1

CurtAdams@aol.com Wrote:

>A code allows you to decode something.

Yes and even more important in this case, a high level code would give you an easy way to encode a complex physical trait into DNA.

>Knowing the eye-signal gene allows you to spot other eye-signals
>but gives you no idea what any other gene does.

I said there was good evidence a high level language must exist, I don't know how to reach any other conclusion when we find a simple command can cause thousands of mouse genes to cooperate and produce a very complex structure like a mouse eye and exactly the same command can make thousands of fly genes produce a vastly different fly eye. I also made very clear that we don't understand that high level language yet, we only know two or three of the words and none of the grammar. My point was that interesting things could result when we know more and we may learn more in a hurry.

>With the genetic code, by contrast, I can give you the amino acid
>sequence of any gene

Genes do not contain amino acids, proteins do. Genes are made of DNA (RNA in a few viruses like AIDS) and information is conveyed in a very long sequence of only 4 bases in that DNA. The genetic code is just the mapping of the 64 possible base triplets (4 X 4 X 4) to the 20 amino acids life uses in proteins.

>Your eye-signal gene can't differentiate you from a chimp because it's
>not different in any functional sense.

Exactly my point. Call it a signal, call it a code, call it a language, whatever you call it one thing is certain, it itself is not an eye, for it to produce an eye a translation is needed. The amazing thing is that all life seems to use the same translation book, and that's why I want a copy of that book.

>A human who had all the highly conserved genes from a chimp would be
>a human to all tests, except to a sequencing machine.

As written that's pure unadulterated nonsense. My hope is that's not really the idea you want to express and you just wrote a bad sentence.

John K Clark jonkc@att.net

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