The more I read of the biological genetic systems that control body formation the more I see high specific systems engineering techniques that I use in computer systems. Modular, object-orientated techniques allowing simple design structures to be easily modified and expanded are clearly visible, such as in the six genes that are used to define body sections, so similar across species that the eye gene from the fruit fly can be used to produce the eyes in mice. This type of modular, high-level control of complex and varied sub-processes as found in all life since the Cambrian Explosion seems to point directly at the use of "life" development system tools, giving basic structure control facilities, and allowing rapid prototyping and design changes. It is fascinating to see how these "life" systems work, and I believe that a "life" development system can be reverse engieered from the knowledge being gained in recent and future years, that will allow the development of new insects and mamals using a gene bank and computer system to mix and match body parts...
posted by Robin Colclough
August 19, 2008
About once a month at Sigma Xi headquarters, we liven up the lunch hour with an American Scientist Pizza Lunch talk. In these informal lectures, scientists describe new research to nonscientists. The series is light on jargon but heavy on solid science. Each Pizza Lunch offers an in-depth look at its subject, whether it's bedbugs or the smart grid. Click below to read about and download these talks -- and to subscribe!
JSTOR, the online academic archive, now contains complete back issues of American Scientist from its inception in 1913 (as Sigma Xi Quarterly) through 2005.
The table of contents for each issue is freely available to all users; those with institutional access can read each complete issue.
View the full collection here.