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Genetic, epigenetic and exogenetic information in development and evolution

Griffiths, Paul E. (2017) Genetic, epigenetic and exogenetic information in development and evolution. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The idea that development is the expression of information accumulated during evolution and that heredity is the transmission of this information is surprisingly hard to cash out in strict, scientific terms. This paper seeks to do so using the sense of information introduced by Francis Crick in his sequence hypothesis and central dogma of molecular biology. It focuses on Crick's idea of precise determination. This is analysed using an information-theoretic measure of causal specificity. This allows us to reconstruct some of Crick's claims about information in transcription and translation. Crick's approach to information has natural extensions to non-coding regions of DNA, to epigenetic marks, and to the genetic or environmental upstream causes of those epigenetic marks. Epigenetic information cannot be reduced to genetic information. The existence of biological information in epigenetic and exogenetic factors is relevant to evolution as well as to development.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Griffiths, Paul E.paul.griffiths@sydney.edu.au0000-0002-8657-6873
Keywords: Genetic information, epigenetics, specificity
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Depositing User: Professor Paul Edmund Griffiths
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2018 16:40
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2018 16:40
Item ID: 14476
Journal or Publication Title: Interface Focus
Publisher: The Royal Society
Official URL: http://rsfs.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/7/5...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2016.0152
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Date: 18 August 2017
Volume: 7
Number: 5
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14476

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