Observations placeholder

Dawkins, Professor Richard - Unweaving the Rainbow - On DNA

Identifier

011830

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

So we should now be asking, if it isn't used to build the hardware of the body, what is the software it is encoding?

A description of the experience

Professor Richard Dawkins - Unweaving the Rainbow

Since DNA informatin is digital, we can measure it in the same kindof units as we measure computer information.  One bit of information is enough to specifiy one yes/no decision; a 1 or a 0, a true or a false........

The equivalent fundamental unit in DNA is the nucleotide base.  Since there are 4 possible bases, the information content of each base is equivalent to 2 bits.

The common gut bacterium Escherichia Coli has a genome of 4 megabases or 8 megabits.  The crested newt, Triturus crustatus, has 40,000 megabits.  The 5000-fold ratio between crested newt and bacterium is about the same as that between my present computer and my first one.

We humans have 3000 megabases or 6000 megabits.  This is 750 times as great as the bacterium but what are we to make of the newt trumping us sixfold?.......

We know from other evidence that of the 3000 megabase human genome, only about 2% is actually used for coding protein synthesis.

The source of the experience

Dawkins, Professor Richard

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Function
Word, the

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Suppressions

Inherited genes

Commonsteps

References