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The Blueprint for Life?
July 2002 (vol. 35 no. 7)
pp. 34-40
Dror G. Feitelson, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Millet Treinin, Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem

One of the greatest scientific discoveries of the twentieth century is the structure of DNA and how it encodes proteins. Current genome projects, especially the Human Genome Project, have sparked interest in the information encoded in DNA, which is often referred to as "the blueprint for life,"implying that it contains all the information needed to create life. But this interpretation ignores the complex interactions between DNA and its cellular environment--interactions that regulate and control the spatial and temporal patterns of gene expression.

Moreover, the particulars of many cellular structures seem not to be encoded in DNA, and they are never created from scratch--rather,each cell inherits templates for these structures from its parent cell. Thus, it is not clear that DNA directly or indirectly encodes all life processes, casting doubt on the belief that we can understand them solely by studying DNA sequences.

Citation:
Dror G. Feitelson, Millet Treinin, "The Blueprint for Life?," Computer, vol. 35, no. 7, pp. 34-40, July 2002, doi:10.1109/MC.2002.1016899
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