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Gene mapping - what of combinatorics?

  1. Apr 2, 2006 #1

    so in 2003, it was announced that the human genome was more or less mapped. The difference between individual humans is about 0.2 percent of the 3 000 000 000 genes we have. So somehow, this percentage should account for all of the human variations that aren't dependent on environment. At least, that's a way of thinking. However.

    By mapping genes, I think we do not know enough to predict how a human organism develops - even when we exclude all environmental influences. I think that we forget that DNA is a code, and that this code needs to be read by something, and that this reading happens according to certain rules. The different letters of DNA have to be combined in a certain way, in order to obtain meaningful instructions.

    So, what I'm wondering is: how are these letters, these elements, combined? How do they interact? Is there any way this has been researched ; is there even a theory imaginable to research this?

    I think it's perfectly imaginable that an instruction A and an instruction B present in a DNA code, can interact in a number of ways: they can reinforce each other, they can annihilate each other, and they can even cooperate to form an emergent expression, so the two operations cannot be independently distinguished in the fenotype.

    But I know nothing of biology. The main reason why I say this, is because now that people are talking about brain mapping, it seems very easy to state that once this is done, we'll know everything of the brain. But as long as no method is possible to research interactions of information carrying data (be it letters, neurons, or gene cells), we know, essentially, nothing that's reliable.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 3, 2006 #2


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    This is very basic biology: a gene is trancribed from DNA to RNA and then the RNA is translated into a protein. But I think you are asking how genes interact and how we can predict that?
    You can do interaction mapping, where you look which proteins are able to bind each other. If they bind this might have a function, if they don't bind then there is no direct interaction. They currently are making such interaction maps.
  4. Apr 16, 2006 #3
  5. Apr 16, 2006 #4


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    The "Universal Genetic Code is a 3X3X3 array giving each ordered triple of bases and the corresponding amino acid or sytactical function it represents. I believe all the known DNA from every species follows this assignment rule.

    You have to allow for the complementarity between the base pairs that allows one string of the double helix to mimic the other so that when they split during cell division, each one carries the same information, but coded in strings of complementary bases.
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