Horizontal and Vertical Transmission

Nick Rose (Nicholas.Rose@uwe.ac.uk)
Tue, 9 Feb 1999 14:19:06 -0500 (EST)

From: Nick Rose <Nicholas.Rose@uwe.ac.uk>
To: JOM-EMIT Discussion List <memetics@mmu.ac.uk>
Subject: Horizontal and Vertical Transmission
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 14:19:06 -0500 (EST)

Nick Wrote,
>>Transmission. Genes are exclusively vertical in their
>>transmission (parents to kin) whereas culture and viruses
>>can transmit horizontally (i.e. to non-kin).

Paul Replied,
>No I disagree with you Nick, this involves conflating
>genetic and cultural lineages and is confusing. From a
>cultural lineage, genetic transfer is horizontal and
>cultural transmission is vertical. Memetic transfer
>cannot be anything but vertical (telepathy

No, I don't agree. From a gene's eye view; gene
replication is vertical (from parents to children) and
cultural replication can be vertical (as above) or
horizontal (to peers etc). And this is the similiarity
(I'd say perhaps the only similarity) between memes and

are terms which don't really apply - all cultural
replication is from a cultural ancestor to a cultural
descendant. Saying that *that* is vertical is fine - but
does it really mean anything? What would horizontal
cultural replication look like?? As for gene replication
from a meme's eye view - how is that always 'horizontal'?
I'm not sure what that means.

Nick Rose
Email: Nicholas.Rose@uwe.ac.uk
"University of the West of England"

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