Toward a Biology Worthy of Life > Natural Genome Remodeling > Brief excerpt
A project by Stephen L. Talbott

From the constant to the fluid genome

All these revelations about coherent genomic change have prompted University of Chicago geneticist James Shapiro to speak of “natural genetic engineering”. “We have progressed from the Constant Genome, subject only to random, localized changes at a more or less constant mutation rate, to the Fluid Genome, subject to episodic, massive and non-random reorganizations capable of producing new functional architectures”. Crucially, “genetic change is almost always the result of cellular action on the genome”.

Likewise, two geneticists from the University of Michigan Medical School, writing in Nature Reviews Genetics, remember how “it was previously thought that most genomic rearrangements formed randomly”. Now, however, “emerging data suggest that many are nonrandom, cell type‑, cell stage- and locus‑specific events.

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