Biology 446    Unsolved Problems Fall 2018

Discussion for August 24 / 27

Wikipedia link about Schrödinger's book What Is Life?

A few excerpts:

"MAXIMUM SIZE OF A GENE We have just introduced the term gene for the hypothetical same material carrier of a definite hereditary feature. We must now the stress two points which will be highly relevant to our every investigation. The first is the size -or, better, the maximum size -of such a carrier; in other words, to how small a volume can we trace the location? The second point will be the permanence of a gene, to be inferred from the durability of the hereditary pattern. As regards the size, there are two entirely independent estimates,...

GENERAL AND HISTORICAL REMARKS The fact that the recessive allele, when heterozygous, is completely overpowered by the dominant and produces no visible effects at all, is amazing. It ought at least to mentioned that there are exceptions to this behaviour. When a homozygous white snapdragon is crossed with...

THE NECESSITY OF MUTATION BEING A RARE EVENT So far we have tended to fix our attention on harmful mutations, which may be the more numerous; but it must be definitely stated that we do encounter advantageous mutations as well. If a spontaneous mutation is a small step in the development of the species, we get the impression that some change is 'tried out' in rather a haphazard fashion at the risk n, as of its being injurious, in which case..."

There are several links on-line to download pdfs of parts of the book, but I couldn't find the whole book available for free.


How do genes cause formation of anatomical structures?

(By cell-cell signals that stimulate cell differentiation of each cell type according to detection of position?)

How does music (certain sequences of noises) produce pleasure?

Can it make a person smarter to listen to Mozart?
(What sort of evidence could disprove this?)
(What causal reasons can we imagine?)


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