Sunday, July 22, 2007

let. to ed. re. "Biology's Big Bang" -- Economist

Here's a letter to the Economist that wasn't published:
I read, with great interest the recent cover article describing biology's big
bang. I agree wholeheartedly agree with the thrust of this piece. The article
makes the point that there is a revolution in biology akin to that in early
20th-century physics. It also compares the genome to a computer operating
system. One can take these comparisons even further. The revolution in biology
is fundamentally about how a discipline once preoccupied with descriptions of
anatomy and taxonomy is now increasingly concerned with digital information
processing. We are, in fact, witnessing the fusion of parts of biology and
computer science. The new roles found for RNA are so important because of its
central place in cellular information processing.

Letter in response to:
The RNA revolution
Biology's Big Bang
Jun 14th 2007
>From The Economist print edition
What physics was to the 20th century, biology will be to the 21st—and RNA will
be a vital part of it.
NATURE is full of surprises. When atoms were first proved to exist (and that was
a mere century ago), they were thought to be made only of electrons and protons.
That explained a lot, but it did not quite square with other observations. Then,
in 1932, James Chadwick discovered the neutron. Suddenly everything made
sense—so much sense that it took only another 13 years to build an atomic bomb....