Genome Length

Lawrence Foster lafoster at
Wed Jan 17 06:48:37 EST 1996

In article <45b20t$8o6 at>, bermand at says...
>agschultz at (Agschultz) writes:
>>For some time now I've been interested in genetics (mostly with regard to
>>evolution). Much of the reading I've done thus far has been at a layman's
>>level (with some exceptions). I do not recall reading of replicating "junk
>>I find this subject rather interesting and I was wondering if anyone might
>>be able  to recommend some references on the subject.
>The best 'layman's' discussion of junk DNA I've seen is in books by Richard 
Dawkins - who has several suggestions as to why it occurs.  Start with 'The Se

Daniel Berman's response was cut - but his recommendation is solid.
Start with "The Selfish Gene" and then "The Blind Watchmaker," both by
Richard Dawkins.

The gist of "The Selfish Gene" is that genes exist to propogate themselves,
not the organism in which they inhabit. People, plants, Drosophila, have
an inordinate amount of "junk DNA" because "junk DNA" wants to survive on
its own. (In a blind, chemical fashion, of course.)

Stephen J. Gould, the noted Harvard professor, has several good books, also.

Don't be mislead by Dawkins' prose as "layman" material. Some of the ideas
are obsolete (his comparison to computers, for example) but that's to be
expected of a book first published in 1976. His scientific arguments are

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