Re: Genes and Development Conference

Tim Ikeda (
Thu, 08 Apr 1999 22:17:45 -0400

Kevin asks...[...]
[RE: extra-genetic elements involved in cell function...]
KO> Forgive my ignorance (I work with proteins, not genes), but
KO> by extra-genetic components are you referring to the cell's
KO> metabolic system, or to extracellular protein factors, both
KO> or neither?

Both, and more. In essence, those parts that are not strictly
dependent on the physical unit (sequence) of a gene itself. Things
like DNA methylation & chromosome packing that affect a gene's
expression might also be considered "extra-genetic". These are
things that are often able to change quicker than the sequence
of a gene.

>BH> "Genes are important because they are the controllers and
>BH> executers of developmental processes." -- Raff
TI>Yes, taken at face value, Raff's statement is ridiculous.
TI>Genes can't execute anything.

KO> By this you mean they need a metabolic system to first transcibe
KO> the gene, then translate it into a protein or enzyme that then
KO> exerts the control or executes the appropriate function, no?

Yes. Context is very important for what a gene can do.

Tim Ikeda (despam address before use)