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Philosophical Leanings

Ed Rybicki ED at molbiol.uct.ac.za
Tue Apr 18 02:59:22 EST 1995

> From:          bap at med.pitt.edu (Bruce Phillips)
> Subject:       Philosophical Leanings

> 	A virologist visiting my institution recently suggested that man is
> simply a vehicle by which DNA can replicate on the moon (and other planets?).
> It's fun to anthropomorphize, but carrying it too far in describing the earth,
> its creatures, and its molecules can lead to ludicrous conclusions.

I use a photograph of a T4 phage model made by one of our students - in 
metallic-gold finish - as an illustration of the function of a virus 
capsid - and I introduce it initially as the Lunar Excursion Module 
from the Apollo series....  The analogy hits home hard given that 
initial confusion, in that they suddenly realise that the capsid is 
doing what the lander did - protecting nucleic acids.

Ain't no philosophy to it; life is simply the phenomenon accompanying 
the propensity of nucleic acids to make more of themselves.

 |     Ed Rybicki, PhD      |  ed at molbiol.uct.ac.za   |
 |    Dept Microbiology     | University of Cape Town |
 | Private Bag, Rondebosch  |   7700, South Africa    |
 |   fax: x27-21-650 4023   | phone: x27-21-650-3265  |
 ------WWW URL: http://www.uct.ac.za/microbiology------
   "And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
      From the profit he's made on your dreams..."

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