Re: gene replication [was Defining Memes }

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Tue, 24 Jun 1997 08:23:35 -0700

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 1997 08:23:35 -0700
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Re: gene replication [was Defining Memes }

Hans-Cees Speel wrote:
> > >IP The gene, as I
> > > understand it, is programmed by its molecular structure to self replicate
> > > given a particular context. What is the equivalent auto-replicator in
> > this
> > > memetic replication process we keep discussing
> > >
> > HS mmm, this seems to b to simple for me. We must be careful not to
> > talk about 'the gene' in this way. There are genes that code for
> > replication structures in the cell, yes. But not all genes, or rather
> > most genes have nothing to do with these structures. So most genes
> > are not coding for self-replication. They are replicated by the
> > structures that other genes code for.
> >
> > ----------------------------------
> >
> > I was not thinking of the structures in the cell. I was thinking of
> what I understand [and please correct me if I understand wrongly] of
> the DNA double helix having an inherent chemical propensity to make
> copies of itself GIVEN THE CONTEXT [i.e other genes, cells, nutrients
> etc. etc.]. It is the equivalent - if it exists- self replication of
> memes that I seek. Of course context will have everything to do with
> whether the self-replication can happen.
> I think you undertand wrongly, but the frase 'context' makes it
> difficult to assess. Dna in a testtube does not self-replicate. It
> needs a lot of enzymes and other things that are present in the cell.
> The trick is that genes do transcribe for this replciation themselves. But at
> time t-1 there has to be something produced so at time t replciation
> can take place. So if you take the word 'context' and say 'ok this is
> part of the context', then you understand it right, but I am not sure
> if this is what you mean.
> Genes code for enzymes ( RE I will call them) doing replication at
> t, given the decoding- enzymes (I will call DCE) they coded for at t-1. It is a cycle, and if
> you remove the enzymes needed for this replication (RE) the cell will
> not show dna replciation. So DNA has no inherent structure to replicate
> itself. It only replicates when RE-enzymes are ready.
> These RE enzymes that are needed to replciate are coded for, but often
> gene A that is being red does not code for the DCA enzyme that pro0duces
> the decoding of gene a.
> Is that more clear, or am I producing more confusion?

We went through this discussion before. Couldn't we to try and agree on
at least some basic mechanisms and some basic definitions and have these
available as a FAQ somewhere. A list of accepted 'paradigms' by this
community. Anyone is free to challenge these 'paradigms', but should at
least have read the list before doing so. As such, discussions can be
constructive and not redundant.

A summary of the discussions on replicators, auto-replicators, what is
being replicated, would be most welcome at this time.

Mario Vaneechoutte
Laboratory Bacteriology & Virology
Blok A, De Pintelaan 185
University Hospital Ghent
Belgium 9000 Ghent
Tel: +32 9 240 36 92
Fax: +32 9 240 36 59
Editor J. Memetics:

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