GENTECH archive


comment on 2 posts and a philosophical view (fwd)

Herve posted me his response - derived from the Times story on the
entomological effect of planting gen manipulated plants. This response
should be seen by the full lists
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 15:27:25 +0100 (MET)
From: Herve LE MEUR <>
Subject: comment on 2 posts and a philosophical view

Hi all,

first : comment to the post of MichaelP, concerning propagation of genes
got through natural selection :

>And when those insects mate with
>   their neighbors in nearby biotech plots, their susceptibility genes
>   will dilute any emerging resistance in their mates.
If I understand well, the argument is partly false and reality is even worse :
It suffices to have the gene to have an advantage in terms of selection.
Then, indeed, on the "normal" field, there will be  mixing and the genes will
"dilute". But on the others, it is false.

Then the post of CAM <> on the article in the Times :

>the system identifies
>subjects not by their entire genetic blueprint
> but by tiny stretches of DNA coding, known
>as short tandem repeats that are just two to
>seven base-pairs long. Though little more
>than genetic gibberish, STRs yield
>remarkably accurate results. If three of the
>ministrands match a suspect's, the likelihood
>is 2,000 to 1 that police have the right
>person. Nine matches boost the odds to 1
>billion to 1

But then, no arithmetic (and I am mathematician ...) is valid :
if 13 pairs "identify", then the whole of a body is as much in an
over-tiny part as in the whole part. Isn'it beautiful ?

Couldn't it help to answer to the difficult question raised of what is life ?

Let me submit an answer to that last question :
I consider, that even the fact of raising the question is  bad (got no
better word : unsafe, unsane, ...). I mean that when we accept
to raise the question, we have lost the battle (I do consider it is a battle).

But there is no way of escaping. That's the supreme challenge :
if refuse the weapons of your ennemy, you lose, and if you accept, then
you will be at least a little convinced by him. Isn'it imperialism ?

Moreover, we all rely on the "credo" :
"Knowledge is better than no knowledge".
I believe more and more that even this is false. But I have no
place to escape. And please don't answer that I want to go away
because I would not be intelligent enough to adapt to the society.
Wouldn't it be the society that cannot adapt to a greater part of us ?

And I think that if I cannot adapt, then there is a lot of personns
who cannot neither. (even if I look over proud).

Thanks to all those who accept to raise GE to the level of philosophy  ;))