Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Unraveling DNA: The Most Important Molecule of Life

Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Unraveling DNA: The Most Important Molecule of Life

Article excerpt

Unraveling DNA: The Most Important Molecule of Life

Frank-Kamenetskii, Maxim D. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley. 1997

In Unravelling DNA: The Most Important Molecule of Life, Maxim D. Frank-Kamenetskii gives a clear understanding of genetics without political overtones. For a good understanding of the mechanics of genes, this is an excellent book.

He proceeds to express some philosophical thoughts on the subject.

It is very hard to admit that there is only one single reason for each of us to come into this world: to transmit our DNA to the next generation. There is absolutely no other purpose for us to be born. It is very uncomfortable to realize that our body is actually nothing more than a shell to carry DNA. There is no difference, with respect to this goal of existence, between a human and a bacterium, or a simple virus, or even a plasmid. From the biological viewpoint, people have been wandering in darkness trying to find the goal of their existence in cults, religions, music, poetry, and fine arts. Although they all have the same goal, various species differ drastically with respect to the means they have at their disposal to reach this goal. Keeping in mind the simplicity of the goal, the diversity and the degree of sophistication that nature demonstrates seems truly amazing. However, if you think about it, you will realize that under conditions of fierce competition for limited resources, more primitive organisms should eventually lose to more sophisticated organisms, let alone different species. …

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