You Must Remember This

John H. John at
Sun Oct 21 21:43:52 EST 2001

"*Hemidactylus*" <ecphoric at> wrote in message
news:e6a845aa.0110201551.323dd214 at
> "Michael Painter" <m.painter at> wrote in message
news:<ko6A7.133528$3d2.3840951 at>...
> > "*Hemidactylus*" <ecphoric at> wrote in message
> > news:e6a845aa.0110190158.108b7dfe at
> > > wilkins at (John Wilkins) wrote in message
> >  news:<1f1brmp.1w8a7o491aucbN%wilkins at>...
> > > > Michael Painter <m.painter at> wrote:
> > > >
> BTW, the topic of this thread was quite interesting, but AFAIK, the
> immune system is the only instance of functional DNA level changes in
> human genes during development (after Tonegawa and those still
> studying such things). Immunoglobulin genes rearrange in lymphocytes
> during development and there's something called hypermutation too
> (heavy handwaving...don't look behnd the curtain please).
> Someone named Ed Steele has been studying the possibility of
> retrovectors being able to bring something adaptive across the
> so-called Weismann's barrier (or from somatic cell like a lymphocyte
> to germ cell). I'm a tad rusty on the details, but such things
> wouldn't apply to neurons if they harbor no genetic (DNA) differences
> due to somatically selective development. I'm not sold on Steele's
> ideas for the immune system and I'd be even more skeptical of such
> things being possible for the brain or how adaptive behavioral changes
> happening during ontogeny could cross into the germline and influence
> phylogeny.

Yes, this is in a book called Lamarck's Signature. The idea remains unproven
but Richard Dawkins stated, "If this is true I'll eat my hat" and I suspect
he will be doing just that. Three scientists have participated in this
research though Steele started the ball rolling. Intuitively I think he is
right, certainly not a crackpot but at the Uni he is currently posted to in
Aus he is known to be a 'difficult' individual, which one would need to be
if one were brave\mad enough to resurrect Lamarck! The idea is currently
being evaluated by the bods, I trust, though if you look at the history of
other such revolutions in thinking that don't expect everyone to come on
board. After all, these authors are committing heresy, and scientists enjoy
a good burning now and then ... .
In context: there's a lot in immunology that is undecided, difficult to
ponder, impossible to dream. For example, many subscribe to the self
non-self model as being the 'central principle' in immunology. I don't.

John H.

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