[ExI] Genes aren't what we thought they were.......

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Sat Jan 5 02:45:31 UTC 2019

BillK wrote:

> <http://nautil.us/issue/68/context/its-the-end-of-the-gene-as-we-know-it>
> Quote:
> Increasingly, we are finding that, in complex evolved traits—like
> human minds—there is little prediction from DNA variation through
> development to individual differences. The genes are crucial, of course,
> but nearly all genetic variations are dealt with in the way you can vary
> your journey from A to B: by constructing alternative routes. “Multiple
> alternative pathways … are the rule rather than the exception,” reported a
> paper in the journal BioSystems in 2007.

No geneticist or biologist claims that complex phenotypic traits are
genetically determined from birth by genes alone. That is a popular
misconception. Actual genes make up a very small portion of our DNA and
the intragenic regions have functions too. All his gene bashing without
accounting for the importance of intergenic regions, introns, and
epigenetics suggests he has some kind of idealogical axe to grind.

> In the same vein, we can now understand why the same genetic resources
> can be used in many different ways in different organs and tissues. Genes
> now utilized in the development of our arms and legs, first appeared in
> organisms that have neither. Genes used in fruit flies for gonad
> development are now used in the development of human brains. And most
> genes are used in several different tissues for different purposes at the
> same time. --------

Richardson uses a lot of straw man arguments largely similar to the
following: "The popular view of genes is wrong therefore the science of
genetics is garbage." I think he has got some sort of political agenda
here because no serious biologist believes in pure genetic determinism.
Keep in mind that the cytoplasm of the egg cell is inherited as well as
the microflora, viruses, etc. Actual biologists know this.

> Hmmm...  New research seems to be turning Genes and DNA upside down.
> Maybe environment has more importance in directing how humans develop?

I agree, I just don't like Richardson's politically-motivated
mischaracterization of modern biology. He is subtly antiscience or
bioluddite or something. He probably avoids GMO foods as well.

Stuart LaForge

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