Can a genome be analyzed like a computer program?

Patrick O'Neil patrick at corona
Thu Apr 13 20:22:26 EST 1995



On 13 Apr 1995, Gary Welz wrote:

> I'm writing an article about the large scale structure of the genome.  
> Does anyone besides me think that an organism's genome can be regarded 
> as a computer program?  I mean that its structure can be presented as a 
> flowchart with genes as objects connected by logical terms like "and" 
> and "or" and, of course, "while" loops?  

You would also have to come up with a computer program terms like, "sort 
of" and "sometimes" and "a little bit."  Not all genes act in an either 
on or off configuration.  Dosage affects, epigenetic affects, etc, muddy 
the water a bit.  Some genes can be a little bit on meaning that 
sometimes a full gene product is produced, but other times an abortive 
product is produced; or the gene might be on at a low level which differs 
in different circumstances with the same signals floating about in the cell.

Patrick



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