Genes, to the extent that there are any, matter, but not that much

It has long been a superstition that we are determined by our genes; given the set of genes it is possible to reconstruct the organism. This has long been known to be wrong. Genes are only a small part of the genome, with the role played by the rest largely mysterious, but important.  And the genome itself is modified in reproduction, not only by epigenetics.  Genes are an essential part of a cell, but only a part. It is the cell that reproduces, and the cell that is reproduced. However as is becoming increasingly clear “gene” itself is a fuzzy concept. Perhaps in reality there is no such thing, or it exists only in special cases. (DNA study forces rethink of what it means to be a gene,  Elizabeth Pennisi,SCIENCE, vol. 316, p. 1556, 15 June 2007).  There is vastly more to life, and to heredity, than genes.  This has long been known (see the OAIU book for discussion and references), but not widely enough.

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