Re: Words and Memes

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Thu Feb 14 2002 - 03:48:56 GMT

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: Words and Memes
    Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 22:48:56 -0500
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    >From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    >Subject: Re: Words and Memes
    >Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 16:52:40 -0800
    >>At the smallest unit, genes are base-pairs. If you buy into the essence
    >>a meme being information, then information is measured in bits, 8 bits to
    >>the byte. Which makes Watt's meme "separate condenser" 18 bytes or 144
    >>You could argue that you need millions of bytes of background technoloy
    >>this meme to be applied, but the exact same thing can be said about some
    >>gene where the actions of tens of thousands of other genes are required
    >>it to be expressed.
    >>Keith Henson
    >If you're talking eight-bit bytes, you're talking about computers. DNA is
    >divided into three base pairs per unit and each unit codes for an amino
    >according to Matt Ridley in his book Genome. The principle is the same but
    >the way of dividing up the bits is different from the way it's done in the
    >computer field. There are 20 amino acids that make up an alphabet of units
    >that can be used to produce any number of products including proteins and
    >enzymes. I understand the computer much better than I understand the cell,
    >so I'll concede ahead of time I may be wrong, as I've already been wrong on
    >this subject once today. ;-)>
    >Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at
    I'm not so sure things are quite as tidy as Derek implied to you, but OTOH
    things ain't a commplete chaotic mess neither. The way evolutionists such as
    Richard Dawkins and his predecessor G.C. Williams look at the abstracted
    gene may be somewhat in a different vein from the way molecular biologists
    approach it. But do square the way Derek presented it to you with Robert
    Weaver's definition from the text _Molecular Biology_ (1999. WCB McGraw
    Hill. Boston). Weaver defines gene as follows: "The basic unit of heredity.
    Contains the information for making one RNA and, in most cases, one
    polypeptide." What are the exceptions then, where the gene product is RNA,
    not protein or polypeptides?

    And on page 30 it is pointed out that some genes are RNA stretches not DNA
    stretches. This is making exceptions for RNA viruses.

    Minor distinctions, not a total mess.

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