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Inherited History


Today I wanted to write about something that really isn’t that original, but runs across my mind from time to time: DNA as text. We conceptualize DNA quite literally as text, and are now, today, encoding the information from texts into the format of DNA (http://news.discovery.com/tech/biotechnology/entire-book-encoded-dna-120817.htm). Nucleotides are assigned a letter, and depending on the order of the letters then a certain order of amino acids (also assigned a series of letters) are combined to make a protein, and proteins come together to make us and every living thing around us.

When I look at DNA, I am stumped. How could a series of “letters” (nucleotide sequence), seemingly random, be translated into something, an object, which has coherence? But the sequence of letters is far from random, and can even be read, once you know the code.

In reading our genetic code, we read History. Contained in just five letters…

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