Chromosomes and memes

Mark Mills (
Wed, 8 Oct 97 09:45:47 -0600

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Chromosomes and memes
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 97 09:45:47 -0600
From: Mark Mills <>
To: memetics list <>

Mario writes,

>Chromosomal genes can't hustle around like plasmid genes and
>memes, they are locked within a chromosome within a cell. This
>is another good reason why giving both genes (whereby people
>usually think about chromosomal genes) and memes
>the same name (i.e. replicator) leads to wrong comparisons.

I'd like to point out this is a problem caused by how one defines meme.
If one starts with the proposition that memes bounce around in the
environment, meme are by definition different than chromosomes.

There are some, myself included, that place memes in the brain. Dawkins
himself says 'memes live in the brain' in his 2nd edition of 'The Selfish
Gene.' It is not difficult to propose a construct that relies on an
inherited neural process which collects experience to gain 'behavioral'
form. These processes would be developmental, building upon each other in
a manner similar other natural 'growth' processes. Such a process would
produce individual and population behaviors we would all agree are

According to the 'brain process' construct, memes would be a feature of
genetic evolution, a new level of complexity (code substrate) built upon
cellular and multicellular organizational levels. In brief, meme
replication would be part genetic replication, part cellular differention
(embryology) and part 'environmental imprinting.' There would be no
need for 'external memes' to explain human memetic activity.

plasmid gene. The chromosome model is much easier to follow.


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