mind, matter, meaning and information

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the gene

The gene is an item of genetic information, an element of the design of an organism. A particular gene will usually be carried by more than one member of a species, and will, due to reproduction, survive the death of all its current carriers. It is defined as any unit of genetic information that survives over a number of generations. This is not the only definition of the gene, but it is the one that is used by evolutionary biologists, and is most relevant here. So each gene might consist of two or more lower level genes, and itself constitute part of a higher level one. The gene for a particular set of “racial” features like skin colour, hair type and so on, actually consists of genes for each of these features, which in turn could similarly be broken down. Genes tend to associate with each other in cooperating clusters, and these may generally be considered themselves to be genes. The highest level clusters are not considered to be genes; they do not survive long, because each parent passes only half of their own genetic information on to each child, and the larger the cluster, the more likely it is to be split on reproduction. The highest level cluster, the complete genome, specifies the individual as a whole.

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Copyright © 1998—2005 by Robin Faichney. This material may be distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License, v1.0 or later (the latest version is presently available at http://www.opencontent.org/openpub/). Distribution of substantively modified versions of this document is prohibited without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. Distribution of the work or derivative of the work in any standard (paper) book form is prohibited unless prior permission is obtained from the copyright holder.
Last modified 23-Feb-2005 14:36:17 by Robin Faichney .