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IPFS News Link • Science

It's the End of the Gene As We Know It

• arclein

We've all seen the stark headlines: "Being Rich and Successful Is in Your DNA" (Guardian, July 12); "A New Genetic Test Could Help Determine Children's Success" (Newsweek, July 10); "Our Fortunetelling Genes" make us (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 16); and so on. The problem is, many of these headlines are not discussing real genes at all, but a crude statistical model of them, involving dozens of unlikely assumptions. Now, slowly but surely, that whole conceptual model of the gene is being challenged.

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Comment by Ed Price
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To say it simple, for ages science has said that most of the genetic material in our bodies exists to simply be available when the main operating genes need it. The thing we are finding out is that this more-or-less passive material is really the "switching" material. It is the controllers of the main genetic material, switching genes on and off in highly complex patterns, that allow us to live and flourish. This switching material has safeguards built in to correct itself against bad mutations that comes about from environmental "poisoning." But, the corrections gradually deteriorate, and that is why we age.