Re: "minimum separabile" and the memetic code

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sun 02 Feb 2003 - 23:11:16 GMT

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    >>I nominate as a candidate for the memon what cognitive scientists call a


    >I nominate it as a candidate for not making much sense. Looking at a table
    >on the reverse of the front cover of my genetics text (cited below) here in
    >my lap I see that the amino acid leucine (Leu) has 6 different triplets
    >which correspond to it in the genetic code: UUA, UUG, CUA, CUC, CUG, CUU.
    >No one to one correpondence here. Methionine and tryptophan have a single
    >codon which correspond to them AUG and UGG respectively, but they are
    >exceptions to the rule than each amino acid may have more than one codon
    >which corresponds to it. Arginine, Leucine, and Serine each have six.

    >Most codons correspond specifically to *an* amino acid of their very own
    >OTOH, but some are just involved in chain termination.

    >In summary, a given amino acid can correspond to several different codons,
    >but each codon itself can only correspond to one amino acid.

    >for example, cysteine can be specified by UGC or UGU. This is known as
    >degeneracy of the genetic code. Yet, UGU can only specify cysteine. This is
    >known as unambiguity of the code.

    >These contrasts can be found in a genetics text such as William Klug and
    >Michael Cummings _Concepts of Genetics_ (1994. MacMillan College Publishing
    >Company, New York, see page 451)

    >I leave it for the memetic romantics to shoehorn this mess into an analogy
    >between memes and genes.

    I guess I should have typed a smile or a wink after my facetious statement about the memon since nobody seems to have caught the joke. I believe I have argued against the use of genetics terms for memetics as strongly as anyone on the list. The use of such terms tends to confuse the subject more than shed light on it.


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