By Enrico Coen
How is a tiny fertilised egg capable of flip itself right into a individual? How can an acorn rework itself into an oak tree? during the last 20 years there was a revolution in biology. For the 1st time we've all started to appreciate how organisms make themselves. The paintings of Genes provides an account of those new and fascinating findings, and in their broader value for the way we view ourselves. via a hugely unique synthesis of technological know-how and artwork, Enrico Coen vividly describes this revolution in our knowing of the way crops and animals boost.
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From the helicopter the girl looks down again and sees the pattern of squares change to make 'BIRTHDAY', but again you are ignorant of what she sees (Fig. 5). Fig. 5 Black-and-white message produced by following the second page of instructions in the football stadium Now apart from being thrilled, the birthday girl might wonder how the pattern of black and white squares was produced by the people on the ground. We can assume that the coloured squares everyone is standing on are hidden from her view, so she has to base her explanation just on the pattern of black and white squares that she sees.
We can now return to the question of how a gene can be said to interpret something. Like the other examples of interpretations, the various bristle patterns conferred by the scute gene depend on a common frame of reference, the pattern of hidden colours. This is the same in each fly, irrespective of what the final bristle pattern looks like. Based on this common underlying patchwork, each version of the scute gene then ensures that only one specific pattern of bristles is produced; it selects one outcome amongst many.
Essentially all heritable variation, the raw material for evolution, is a consequence of mutations in DNA. Mutations are very important for getting at the meaning of DNA because they provide us with a way to link DNA with an organism's appearance. By associating the alteration in an organisms characteristics with a mutation in a particular piece of DNA, we get an indication of what that piece normally signifies. It's like learning a language backwards, removing words and seeing which objects disappear.
The Art of Genes by Enrico Coen