|Shapiro, looking excited|
One of the things Aristotle said about living beings is that they contain within themselves the principles of their own movement. The more we learn about genetics, the more this seems true, down to the deepest levels. In his latest blog on natural genetic engineering, James Shapiro has some interesting things to say. It is worth quoting the entry extensively.
First caution. By "natural genetic engineering" (NGE) Shapiro does not mean an explanatory principle, but rather all the biochemical mechanisms cells possess to "cut, splice, copy, polymerize and otherwise manipulate the structure of internal DNA molecules, transport DNA from one cell to another, or acquire DNA from the environment. Totally novel sequences can result from de novo untemplated polymerization or reverse transcription of processed RNA molecules."