Paul Krugman Critiques Guillermo Calvo on Commodity Prices
Firefox 3 Now Controls Scott Eric Kauffman

Higher-Level Languages and Genetic Programming

The Quintessence writes::

Quintessence of Dust: Wait...did you say "eldritch?": Comparison of the various chordate genomes reveals that there are very few chordate-specific genes. Specifically, the authors described 239 "chordate gene novelties" out of 22,000 genes in the lancelet. The nature and function of these genes is intensely interesting, and indeed the authors devote a separate report to issues related to this. But think about it: only 1% of the genes in chordates (vertebrates and all their relatives) are "novel" among genes from all other organisms. So if the toolbox isn't all that different between lancelets and lions, despite divergence at least 550 million years ago, then what is different? Anything? As John Timmer notes on Nobel Intent, the authors could find relatively few examples of regulatory DNA sequences that are conserved between lancelets and vertebrates, pointing to the likelihood that changes in regulation of a (mostly) common genetic toolkit is a major factor in evolution of form. (Okay, so that was just a plug for evo-devo. It's my blog.)...

Now that is scary. The DNA genome is best conceptualized not just as machine language for the cell and the organism, not just machine plus assembly language, not just machine plus assembly language plus Fortran, but all of those and overlaid over the whole, controlling everything, the highest-level genetic code for our humanity written in the molecular equivalent of Java...