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Lecture 6

Lecture 6: Nats 1760.docx

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Natural Science
NATS 1760
Darrin Durant

5/27/2013 5:57:00 AM Genetics 2 Why does the base sequence matter for biology? Help shape DNA – mRNA, AAs, Proteins, Metaphors and science: Metaphor Informatics: thinking of gene just as codes Necessary and sufficient conditions Beanbag genetics: Genetic engineering In 1960 it was discovered that DNA was a sequence of bases – permitted the idea of it being a code. Biology looks up to computer science for its ability to easy explain/produce/code information. Also, with rise of computing – computers get smaller, notion of „information society.‟ BUT „informatic‟ metaphor leaves out the physicality of DNA Norbert Wiener – price of metaphor is eternal vigilance (metaphors simplify but leave important stuff out) Barnes & Dupres – unavoidable if you want to coordinate groups of people (price is worth it, to specialize one must leave stuff out) There‟s a complaint that „master molecule‟ metaphor omits stuff  DNA may be that master molecule but it does not itself form the proteins  Richard Lewontin – cites Wiener – DNA the „paper‟ in photocopier  Barnes and Dupre – DNAs like plutonium in a nuclear weapon – DNA necessary but not sufficient for biological processes… but still necessary As you become more specialized in a certain area, how can you explain that to someone who isn‟t a specialist in your area? One way is to use metaphors. The need is to get non- specialists to understand.  One of the worst notions of science is “dumbing down” Attempts to „reduce‟ a field to something similar to being over-enchanted with metaphors for it is done by people who are not (or no longer) are contributory experts Implications for GE. Metaphors of genes as particles is notion that organisms are bundles of particle-genes casing bundles of sing traits – aka „beanbag genetics‟ (one gene has one trait).. If you swap a gene you swap a trait. If your born with something faulty can genetic engineering replace it. PART 2 – How to genetically engineer an organism Natural and unnatural, recombinant DNA (DNA that humans have taken out and swapped the code around), restriction enzymes & ligase (fancy cut and paste), horizontal and vertical gene transfer (v= transfer of genes from parents to children & h= jumping genes b/w species), transfect (to infect with different genes from different species), eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell (e=big cells w/ nucleus & p= small bacteria cells), plasmids (swappable prokaryotic cell DNA), agrobacteria (bacteria that just has to be rubbed to transfect something), mechanical insertion, knockout mice, pharming (using animals to produce a desired protein). The promise of GE: Medical: therapeutic (or enhancement?), testing (look for DNA signatures) Industrial: drugs/medicines/c
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