Re: Chromosomes and memes

Mark Mills (
Thu, 9 Oct 97 15:17:47 -0600

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Chromosomes and memes
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 97 15:17:47 -0600
From: Mark Mills <>
To: memetics list <>

Mario wrote:

>> From my perspective, the problem is envisioning a meme that acts like a
>> plasmid gene. The chromosome model is much easier to follow.
>And what if you look at plasmids as writings, which have to be
>interpreted by a bacterial cell? Plasmids can exist outside a cell, but
>than they are just like an unread book.

This may not work for you, but I'll go back to the substrate concept.
I'm not sure everyone agrees with it, but it seems a good place to start.
Perhaps someone will come up with another substrate to consider.

According to the model, our memetic substrate is neural tissue. Plasmid
style transfer of memetic information would involve insertion of
'trained' tissue (substrate and code) into an untrained host brain.
After the operation, the new host would behave in a trained manner.

As I understand it, this was tried with simple creatures (sea slugs?).
As I remember, the original results showed the transfer produced trained
hosts, but further study failed to reproduce the results.

I don't see cultural evolution using this technique at present. That was
why I thought the plasmid model a difficult one to apply to cultural


This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)