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TorgoX (1933)

TorgoX
  sburkeNO@SPAMcpan.org
http://search.cpan.org/~sburke/

"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Sunday July 20, 2003
01:02 PM

Uncertainties that limit and modify

[ #13574 ]
Dear Log,

«As a result, geneticists have borrowed from physics the analogy of a "black box" to represent the uncertainties of gene expression in living persons. [...] At least four technical terms have emerged in molecular biology in the effort to identify the uncertainties that limit and modify genetic determinism.

Penetrance refers to the variable degree to which a gene actually affects or dominates the life and behavior (phenotype) of the individual carrying that gene [...]

Epigenesis designates the mechanism that, at a certain stage of development, acts on networks of cells to supply variations from any predictable pattern [...]

Heterosis causes genes to affect each other in unexpected, nonadditive ways [...]

Developmental noise refers to random molecular events within cells during development, events that produce accumulating deviations from the norm [...]

All four terms refer to processes as yet little understood. [...]

All these considerations and black-box factors should mute the promises the HGP [Human Genome Project] tends to make about curing our individual and social ills. »

-- from chapter 6 of Roger Shattuck's book Forbidden Knowledge

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