Is "Junk" DNA Used to Provide Genetic Memory

Russell Mast MASTRD at ctrvax.Vanderbilt.edu
Mon Apr 25 00:34:10 EST 1994

In article <2p70mq$5e0 at portal.gmu.edu>, dcameron at mason1.gmu.edu (Don B
Cameron) wrote:

> The classic dogs spinning in circles (to mat down ancient
> prarie grass) before lying down comes to mind. 

Just had to add one more thing.  When your dog spins in circles to mat down
prarie grass, I really don't think s/he is "remembering" anything, nor
would s/he think about grass, matting, or praries.  

Much more likely, it's just some strange obsession with the animal, some
kind of drive, a discomfort that comes from not having spun around.  And
that's pretty easy to enforce with non-junk DNA.  A lot of animals come
with what are called 'motor programs', stereotyped sequences of actions
that can be done as effortlessly as a single activity.  (Why do you suppose
your arms swing when you walk, and why does their synchornoization with
your legs change with your speed?)  Anyway, just hook up the motor program
for sitting down with a specially-designed one about spinning around.  Make
the pup feel funny for not doing one before the other with some
limbic-extrapyramidal hookups, and, viola', you have a beast that is really
uncomfortable about lying down without spinning in circles.  

I, for one, don't call that "memory" in ordinary conversation, though
technically it's a form of memory.  

"Frankly, why anyone would want to play against a random person in another
state when they can more easily play against a computer isn't clear to us."
 -Popular Science, May 1994, p. 100.

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