Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Wonderful Complexity of Life

Now, this research is enormously important if it can be repeated:

In the Purdue experiment, researchers found that a plant belonging to the mustard and watercress family sometimes corrects the genetic code it inherited from its flawed parents and grows normally like its unflawed grandparents and other ancestors.

Scientists said the discovery raises questions about whether humans also have the potential for avoiding genetic flaws or even repairing them, although the plant experiments did not directly address the possibility in higher organisms. They said the actual proteins responsible for making these fixes probably would be different in animals, if the capacity exists at all.

''This means that inheritance can happen more flexibly than we thought,'' said Robert Pruitt, the paper's senior author.

I'm really not surprised that Life is so flexible. It seems to me that there are innumerable strategies that living things must have developed on a physiological level in order to survive throughout history. This research has discovered one such strategy and the implications are enormous--if the human genome inherited a similar potential. This discovery could open up ways to permanently "fix" genetic disorders.

Science is a process of discovery and then there is constant checking and evaluation of that discovery. This finding, if it is able to be replicated by other researchers, doesn't invalidate the Mendelian theory that has held for 150 years--it adds to to it; and to our understanding of the wonderful complexity of Life.

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