Is War a Virus or a Gene? - Big Think
The idea is to open a dialogue between IT and other business leaders, and this book frames the conversation in terms that are meaningful to both. Many IT leaders are excited about what they can now accomplish— for the business or mission—but struggle to explain their excitement to those outside of IT, but Not for lack of trying.
What the CIO really needs to do is to express business value in relation to the goals and worries of these other executives. Why War and Peace? This is Napoleon—famed for his skills as a military leader—giving orders in the battle of Borodino that no one is following, for perfectly good reasons. How does that happen?
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Once I saw the parallel, every page I turned in War and Peace and there are lots of pages brought a new revelation. Napoleon—outside of the military context—was an amazing transformational leader. He brought France the metric system and the Napoleonic code, ended the Inquisition and the Holy Roman Empire, and of course made the felt bicorn hat fashionable. Had he won the war or what? So the hype now pouring out of the mass media is popularizing what has been lurking in the science all along: a gene-god as an entity with almost supernatural powers.
But at the same time, a counter-narrative is building, not from the media but from inside science itself. T he long-suppressed logic of Johansenn that has stalked the gene-god for decades has come home to roost.
Scientists now understand that the information in the DNA code can only serve as a template for a protein. It cannot possibly serve as instructions for the more complex task of putting the proteins together into a fully functioning being, no more than the characters on a typewriter can produce a story.
This can seem confusing to those of us indoctrinated in the idea that there must be a set of genetic instructions prior to development: If not in the DNA code, then where? By the s, research findings started to turn that notion on its head.
They self-organized, synthesized polymers like RNA and DNA , adapted, and reproduced through interactions among hundreds of components. In this perspective, the genes evolved later, as products of prior systems, not as the original designers and controllers of them. Then it was slowly appreciated that we inherit just such dynamical systems from our parents, not only our genes. Molecular biologists have been describing how those factors form networks of complex interactions.
Together, they self-organize according to changing conditions around them. Being sensitive to statistical patterns in the changes, they anticipate future states, often creating novel, emergent properties to meet them. Accordingly, even single cells change their metabolic pathways, and the way they use their genes to suit those patterns.
Genes are used as templates for making vital resources, of course. But directions and outcomes of the system are not controlled by genes. Like colonies of ants or bees, there are deeper dynamical laws at work in the development of forms and variations. Some have likened the process to an orchestra without a conductor. Physiologist Denis Noble has described it as Dancing to the Tune of Life the title of his recent book.
It is most stunningly displayed in early development. Within hours, the fertilized egg becomes a ball of identical cells—all with the same genome, of course. But the cells are already talking to each other with storms of chemical signals. Through the statistical patterns within the storms, instructions are, again, created de novo.
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The cells, all with the same genes, multiply into hundreds of starkly different types, moving in a glorious ballet to find just the right places at the right times. That could not have been specified in the fixed linear strings of DNA. So it has been dawning on us is that there is no prior plan or blueprint for development: Instructions are created on the hoof, far more intelligently than is possible from dumb DNA.
Another wrench in the works has been the discovery that a gene product typically undergoes rearrangements before being put to use. It is such discoveries that are turning our ideas of genetic causation inside out. We have traditionally thought of cell contents as servants to the DNA instructions. I think it is better described as a passive data base which is used by the organism to enable it to make the proteins that it requires.
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Known for decades, these surely reflect inherited codes pre-determining development and individual differences? It is not dependent on a single gene, however. The statistical relation obscures several streams of chemical synthesis of the dye anthocyanin , controlled and regulated by the cell as a whole, including the products of many genes.
In its absence the flower is white. But more evolved functions—and associated diseases—depend upon the vast regulatory networks mentioned above, and thousands of genes. This explains why humans seem to have only a few more genes than flies or mice around 20, , while a carrot has 45,! Donna Samoyloff, Toronto, Canada.
Epigenetics – It’s not just genes that make us
We love a beautiful blue sky. So how did blue come to mean depression? Send answers, and more questions, to weekly. Is war genetically driven? Donna Samoyloff, Toronto, Canada Any answers? Topics Guardian Weekly Notes and queries.