Bryson, Bill - On genes
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Bill Bryson – A Short History of nearly Everything
In one [experiment], they took the gene that controlled the development of a mouse’s eye and inserted it into the larva of a fruit fly. The thought was that it might produce something interestingly grotesque. In fact, the mouse eye gene not only made a viable eye in the fruit fly, it made a fly’s eye.......................
Over 60% of human genes are fundamentally the same as those found in fruit flies, at least 90% correlate at some level with those found in mice. We even have the same genes for making a tail, if they would only switch on. In field after field, researchers found that whatever organism they were working on – whether nematode worms or human beings – they were often studying essentially the same genes. Life, it appeared, was drawn up from a single set of blueprints…
Interestingly, the amount of genetic material and how it is organised doesn’t necessarily … reflect the level of sophistication of the creature that contains it. We have 46 chromosomes, but some ferns have more than 600. The lung fish has 40 times as much DNA as we have. Even the common newt is more genetically splendorous than we are, by a factor of 5