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Name: Howard
Status: Other
Grade:  Other
Location: N/A
Country: United States
Date: April 2005

I have heard that all of biology can be summed up in one phrase: genes are what proteins use to make more proteins and proteins are what genes use to make more genes. Is this an accurate statement? Does this mean that when we understand the functions of all genes and proteins, people could be programmed at conception like computers?

The way I learned it is that "you are what proteins you make" since they catalyze all the chemical reactions that occur in the body and they form a lot of the structures in organisms. In turn, DNA determines what proteins you make, and proteins (specifically enzymes) catalyze the synthesis (replication) of DNA. So it's all kind of circular. This, however, does not necessarily imply that we will ever be able to redesign (reprogram) living organisms by manipulating their DNA. I think it is highly unlikely that scientist will ever be able to do this.

Ron Baker, Ph.D.

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