From biologist Daniel Currier at Salvo 35:
Exponential Life Epigenetics Deepens the Mystery of Design
While DNA “sentences” are certainly essential for life, they are not sufficient to build an organism. So biologists today are asking whether the cell contains other vital receptacles of information.
For illustration, let’s picture an orchestra assembled to play a large-scale symphonic work. The piece is scored for many different instruments, some of which will be played continuously throughout the piece, while others will produce music only intermittently or for only a few measures. A successful performance of the piece, however, will depend upon all the instruments being played correctly and at the proper times.
So it is with the cell, the foundational unit of life. If we liken it to an orchestra, we can picture the DNA as the violin section—a central player, to be sure, but not (as was until recently believed) the whole orchestra. As vital as the violin section is, we cannot ignore the rest of the instruments in the orchestra. Nor can we ignore the other “instruments” in the cell—its other information-carrying structures. Collectively, these other information-bearing and directing structures are often called the epigenome. They are not part of the genome, but are above or external to the DNA genes.
See also: Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!
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