Misuse of "homology" or how can you be half-pregnant ?

Nicolas Le Novère lenov at pasteur.fr
Fri Nov 23 05:46:12 EST 2001


Andrew Martin wrote:

> Robert Herzog <rherzog at dbm.ulb.ac.be> wrote:
 
>>In the world of bioinformatics, let us reserve the term "homology" to 
>>situations where two bio-objects (be it sequences, genes or whatever) 
>>can be claimed to be derived from some common ancestor, or at least can 
>>be inferred to have the same function in their corresponding organisms.

> Absolutely right. Two things are either homologous or not. Just as you
> cannot be 50% pregnant, you cannot be 50% homologous....

I totally agree with you, and I had this conversation dozens of time.
However, there is one case where we can speak of percent homology
regarding genes, that is the chimearic genes made up of several pieces
deriving from different ancestors.

Just to tease ;-)





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