Genetics as information

This is ridiculously fascinating. I mean, just the basic premise is astonishing: no two cells in anybody’s brain have the same genetic code. We are not made up of a single genetic encoding; our bodies carry around literally billions of unique combinations of our genetic code. That’s a bit world-altering, at least for me.

Also, I’ve never seen such a detailed description of the various types of mutation before. I’m particularly intrigued by the “mobile genetic elements,” “that act almost like parasites, jumping around or making copies of themselves and inserting themselves elsewhere in the genome, seemingly to ensure their survival.” That’s unbelievably evocative, in the context of genetics vs. memetics. If you think of humans as being fundamentally information processors, and you think of DNA as being fundamentally information processors, then these rogue strands of DNA are kind of like physical ideas, circulating through the genetic information stream.

Which is probably a bit too philosophical for 9am on a Wednesday morning. I should really get to work.

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